Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The limits of journalism

In discussing the tide of world events that have rained down upon us, journalists are rather hampered by a specific problem - the ones that get the big headlines know next to nothing about economics.  This is something of a problem - how much do you want to bet that the people writing scare stories about the Lehman's CDS auction had never heard of the damn things a year ago?

Why is it that the wave of stories last year about galloping oil prices never mentioned the slumping value of the dollar as a prime cause?  Why is that the wave of stories this year about the shock fall in oil prices don't mention the soaring value of the dollar as a prime cause?  For God's sake, if you're going to use the dollar value per barrel as your measurement, don't you think currency values are worth mentioning?

Anyway, the purpose of this little rant (and God knows I know little enough about economics) is to explain something that might seem a little odd.  We after all about to enter a serious recession, one that will impact most heavily in the UK on the service sector, and one which does not have an instantly explainable 'cause', and what are the papers full of?  Yachts and the Bullingdon club, and Peter Mandelson.  It seems bizarre - like an in-depth focus on party funding would have been in August 1914.  But the reason for it is obvious - it makes a much easier story.  Journalists, then, are lazy and ignorant - which is why I would be so ideally suited…

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