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Deja News? -Why Online Media Matter

Message Michael Fox

This week a large number of news stories have been prominently reported across the mainstream media from London to New York to Los Angeles, informing the public at large of startling developments in the world economy and its deteriorating markets. The singular thread that runs through all these stories, and connects them to you is that, unlike that public at large, you've already read about it all - here. First.

Groundbreaking news from London Monday: the United States is in a new Great Depression, reported the above-the-fold front page screamer in the Independent. Thanks, chaps. But readers of this column have been well aware of that unfolding catastrophe since November, and as it entered its second phase in January, and again in February. Keep reading.

Withering though it is on its Hollywood Vine, The Los Angeles Times front-paged impending world famine today. Really! Well, maybe with yet another 150 reporters laid-off it's hard to jump on those stories too quickly, although they could've known about it in two consecutive columns published here in February - fully five weeks ago. Hang on, this isn't about me - please continue...

Lurking beneath a lesser freeway off-ramp, The Los Angeles Daily News has reported a strange new phenomenon sweeping California: car thieves jacking catalytic converters - for the membrane of platinum and palladium they contain. Even the lowest level of criminal is getting into the commodities market (good luck to them actually having the know-how to remove the goods). But it might be of some interest that while the mainstream press has been carrying on endlessly about the "Sub-Prime Crisis," precious few inches have gone near the metals market phenomenon - again, no shortage of that here.

Several weeks ago, The New York Times' illustrious Paul Krugman decided to take Alan Greenspan down a peg or two. You may have already read much of what he discussed here back around Thanksgiving. By March, the former Fed chief was on rather a lower rung in this column.

The point of this is to stress the importance of the independent online media. While NPR reported today about grain prices causing hunger amongst Vietnamese factory workers, it took a strike at a Nike sneaker factory for them to get to the matter. Readers here knew of this impending crisis weeks ago.

At the most selfless level, these are the questions you may wish to be asking your elected officials about. Instead of the 24-hour inanity of the candidates petty sniping - wasting everyone's time and energies, if the major media were doing their job, we would be approaching November and the transition of our nation's government to responsible new leadership by an informed electorate. Instead, we are watching the political equivalent of a salacious celebrity divorce; Hillary vs. Barack as Heather vs. Paul McCartney.

On a more direct level, this information enables you to spend, save, or invest accordingly. Understanding the disparate events affecting our lives, no matter how remote they may seem - and having a rational interpretation of the information as it happens, rather than after, say, a run on banks or a spike in a precious metal's value, gives an individual far from Wall St. a fighting chance at survival.

The alternative online media have become the go-to source for those who really wish to know what is happening, rather than what has happened, and you've no doubt had a heads-up on investing, a jump on some dinner party conversation or maybe even an eye or both opened from these columns, and - evidence suggests - way ahead of others.

I urge you to support online media. And keep coming back.

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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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