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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Media Manufactured Malaise

By Rick Blumenberg / @rickblumenberg 

Long before there were any indications of an economic downturn the television people were talking about a recession. I’m sure they didn’t think about the repercussions, but creating a recession by talking about it incessantly is a cruel thing to do to those who are mere pawns in the process.

In one example a network newscaster asked a gentleman intervieweebusinessman, economist or politician (I don’t remember which), don’t you think we’re headed for a recession? She asked in about three different ways and every time he answered something like this, “There is no indication of a coming recession”. Finally, in apparent exasperation, she asked “But doesn’t it feel like a recession?” (Precise quote, emphasis hers.) And the gentleman to whom she was talking, hesitated, but finally said, “Well, yes, I guess it does”. It was obvious that was what she wanted to hear, so, with resignation, he capitulated and said what she wanted him to say.

This was just one of many I saw, as the constant barrage of recession by repetition from ABC, NBC, and CBS finally began to create faith in a recession and eventually thus created the real thing. The more businessmen who believed a recession was on the way, the more there were who hesitated to buy needed equipment for fear a recession would make it unnecessary at best and a future forfeiture at worst. Others hesitated to hire needed workers for fear of the fomented recession and finally there were those who laid off workers because no one was buying their machines.

So they talked about this “media manufactured malaise” (my term, not theirs) until enough people believed it and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The problem is, now that they’ve manufactured a malaise (or recession) with the power of the tube, they don’t know how to turn it off. It was easy enough to start. It only took about three years of babbling about it until people began to believe it, but now the recession has spread all over the earth. Everyone wants to blame someone else and I guess that includes me because I don’t think I did it and I do blame the TV media.

The TV media is not to blame for the greed and hypocrisy in the banking and investment field, nor for the deliberate “misappraisal” of properties by bank and appraisal experts who collaborated to finance properties that were over-valued, to say nothing of selling properties to people who obviously could not afford to buy them. Both of these fields (banking and real estate) needed to be corrected. So should we thank the media who manufactured this current malaise? Not! There are better ways to handle such abuses if we would just do it.

There is no way to measure the pain and suffering such broadcasts have caused. All I’m asking for is real news rather than broadcast bias to create news. And I repeat, what we are experiencing is a media manufactured malaise. They should not start bad things, but especially not bad things they don’t know how to stop.

I’m Rick Blumenberg…and that’sMy View from Tanner Creek

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