Thursday, March 5, 2009

It’s all the media’s fault

Yep. The recession, a tanking stock market — it’s the media’s fault.

Heard that twice in the past couple of days — and many times before. You see, the relentlessly negative coverage of the current economic crisis panics people, drives the stock market down... you get the picture.

More than a year ago, when we started reporting that the Sisters real estate market was softening and looked like it was headed for a major slowdown, we were chastised for being “so negative” and told that our reporting could hurt the market. Like we were ahead of the trend...

Some people didn’t like the fact that we reported Sisters’ designation as an economically distressed community.

Now a stockbroker I know wants Obama to put a gag order on the press to stop the negative coverage that is driving the market down. This was a serious proposal. I dunno, but I think maybe the word would get out anyway when the market sheds another 300 points.

Sorry folks... Sticking our fingers in our ears and shouting lalalalalala isn’t going to make this big ol’ bear go away.

The banks are a mess because the banks are a mess, not because anybody is reporting that fact. Subprime mortgage lending imploded because it was unsustainable, not because somebody pointed that fact out (well after the house of cards started collapsing, I might add).

Of course any economic crisis has a psychological component. People get nervous, rein in their spending and the economy contracts. But people are nervous and scared for a damned good reason. There’s plenty to be nervous and scared about.

Don’t get mad at the oil light for coming on on your dashboard. Fix the oil leak.

But I wish they’d quit running those gloomy weather reports. If they’d just shut up, maybe it would warm up and stop snowing...

Jim Cornelius, Editor


  1. Sorry Jim, It's shredded stock certificates not snow. Or is it Mr Morgan's comments? Not sure.

  2. We have free speech in this country. We have freedom of the press.

    We also have freedom not to buy your paper if we feel you aren't doing it right. We also have freedom to turn the channel or turn it off.

    The media only has as much power as we citizens give it, if you ask me. It's that simple.

  3. Jim, Now days I just keep the television off (meaning: the "News") and find other, more positive things to occupy my a good book.

    When nightfall approaches and my day is done I watch "NCIS" and 'House". Television should be entertainment - not a contributing factor for depression.

    What it is, it is (economy wise). We'll get through it and learn some hard lessons along the way. However, I don't want or need my trailmates to be FOX, CNN, or CBS.

    They plain ain't got the sand to make the trek.

  4. Jim:

    Well said; however, there is a very strong effort to suppress accurate information on the depth of this mess. I cringe every time I read the Central Oregon Association of Realtors happy-talk press releases reported as news in the Bulletin. The situation is made worse because of cutbacks in the print media. Most major newspapers are in trouble and investigative reporting has taken a substantial hit. More and more press releases are pitched as news, saves a lot of money in writing and editing costs. We’re in big trouble when we can’t get true, accurate, and complete information from our “free” press. Maybe we need a tax to fund investigative reporting.

  5. Jim, got just one word for ya - Reaganomics.

  6. Reaganomics is a funny word.

    Here's another word. Really, an acronym of a law created by our fine government during the Carter years. It can actually explain a big part of this economic mess:


    Look it up, it's an interesting story.

  7. Matt,

    Surely you are not suggesting that the loans to Low Medium Income (LMI) people the Community Re-investment Act (CRA) is intended to help are responsible for the collapse of the global economy.

    It seems more likely to me that people were engaged in highly leveraged land speculation using vehicles like sub prime mortgages and interest only loans. Or banks selling insurance that covered high risk investments with little or no capital to cover their exposure.

  8. Anonymous:

    Fair point, but I was referring to the US economy, in particular the housing market. And I don't for one nanosecond believe that it isn't a large factor in the global economic recession.

    Go here to read more.

    Also, check out Noriel Roubini, who saw this all coming in 2006.

    I'd rather give housing away to low income folks who are struggling than give them a loan they can't repay and make them go through foreclosure. Is that indicative of fair and responsible government?

    Free markets work. US Government controlled markets tend not to.

  9. Matt,

    The last 8 years have been ruled by the biggest free marketeers we have elected to office since 1932. Their strategy included the systematic dismantling of government controls on Wallstreet (SEC has admitted that they were asleep at the wheel), FDA ( Bush administration gutted this agency to remove government inspection for food safety--hence poison peanut butter from self inspected plants) along with many many other examples. This strategy drove not just the USA but the world into an economic ditch.

    So I don't think that there is good evidence for the free market approach. Hyper greed causes hyper bubble and bust cycles which we are suffering through now. Yes free markets are good, but government (elected by the people!) needs to regulate the markets to prevent all the Hyper - Activity.

  10. The Bush administration is clearly to blame for a large portion of the economic mess, I never said it wasn't. Stupid "free marketeers" who inflate the value of the dollar and don't stop the Fed from lowering rates and printing money are also destructive, but that is still MASSIVE government influence over the "free" market. But also to blame is the FED, and so are the Democrats, who largely crafted the CRA, went along with the war, and have always tried to increase spending and taxes over the last 80 years. To use only the last 8 years as proof that free markets don't work, largely ignoring the previous 200 (or more), is not a fair indictment of free markets.

    My beef is with government in general. Around the world, every country is lowering corporate income tax rates (except ours and a very few others) because they have seen that it leads to economic growth in those countries. I wish our government would do the same.

    Government controlled, or regulated free markets can work, but I should clarify that government owned (which is where we are headed under Obama, Reid and Pelosi), probably won't.

    I appreciate your passion, we will have to agree to disagree.