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Breaking News - Broken Economy

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The problem with “business reporting” is that it is just that – reporting business for business’ interests, rather than broader economics, serving the needs of the greater public.

As I reported the beginning of the New Depression a year ago (specifically Nov. 7, 2007), the business sections and financial news services all continued to maintain that while recession was a possibility (!?), any intermittent rise in the Dow or swell in commodities activity was enough to quell any fear. What disturbs me most is that while the voices on the internet, my own as well as those of several wise and honest economists (some of whom appear on the same sites as I do) get some notice, it is but a small fraction of the notice received by mainstream media, who have been complicit – yes, complicit – in the evaporation of the wealth of millions of middle class investors who might have, had they been better informed, had a chance of protecting themselves from the ruin that ensued over these past twelve months. And now – now that 50% of the wealth of this nation has been wiped out – now they tell you:

Bloomberg, Dec. 1, 2008:

Recession in U.S. Started in December 2007, NBER Says
By Timothy R. Homan and Steve Matthews
Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. economy entered a recession in December 2007, the panel that dates American business cycles said today.
The declaration was made by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private, nonprofit group of economists based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The last time the U.S. was in a recession was from March through November 2001, according to NBER.

(By the way, that is the whole “article” (although “blurb” would be a better word for it), and, yes, they credit two writers.)

So, they’re now telling you – in case you hadn’t noticed – that we’ve been in a recession for the past 12 months. Perhaps next Dec. 1, they’ll let you in on the fact that the recession is a depression – just in case you also haven’t noticed that the price of your home or a new car or even most consumer goods has been deflating, which helps you not a whit if you’re one of the ten million American workers (and 500,000 more every month) who haven’t a job!

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The New York Times reported today that many of the local television news anchors are losing their perches. Now, on the one hand there’s something comforting to people about turning on their local news at 6pm and 11pm every night and seeing the same face; hearing the same stentorian voices decade after decade. But keeping these celebrity copy readers in those chairs is very costly – both in the size of paychecks and in the chasm created by the wealth disparity between the newsreader and the viewers.

I have been concerned that the objectivity of a news anchor being paid a seven- or eight- figure salary, with respect to – for example, the need to reinstate more aggressive progressive taxation might not be affected. One of the few areas in which money has been trickling down is in television “newsrooms”, because keeping the reporters personally invested in the ideas of low taxes, artificially inflated markets, and the concepts of financial self-interest has, in turn, served the needs of the corporate management that employs them.

Now, the jig is up, and there’s little to be gained from continuing to overpay on-air anchors or to keep up the print/internet charade. It’s time to return to journalism. And if and when the Bloombergs and CNNs and (oy, vey) CNBCs of the world decide to get with the program and tell the truth, well, we’ll still be here, and probably still be ten steps ahead.

But until they catch up, we'll still be here with the truth - as it happens.

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Michael Fox is a writer and economist based in Los Angeles. He has been a corporate controller, professor, and small business entrepreneur. After a life-altering accident, he spent five years learning more about medicine and the healthcare (more...)

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