Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

CNBC is symptom of business media’s refusal to incorporate credibility, objectivity

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Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Thu, 03/05/2009 – 12:41pm

If you are a sports fan, imagine watching ESPN and having them report on the positives of the games without mentioning injured players or whether some players were taking steroids. You would be upset that you aren’t getting the whole picture.

Well, if you are watching the business news channels, you weren’t getting the full story when things were good, and any rational explanations for why we’re here now haven’t been explored yet.

“During the bubble, everybody’s a cheerleader, right. Now we’re in the bust, everybody is a psychologist,” said The New York Times business columnist Joe Nocera on last night’s “Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” “If you watch it then, you felt like running out and buying stocks and that was really the purpose of the whole thing.”

According to the listings from my cable company, I get CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox Business Channel as well as HD versions of CNBC and FBC along with CNBC World. Forgetting the HD versions (maybe bad news looks better in HD), there are four business news channels that come into my home. And I don’t think I could trust any of them.

There has to be more to business media than “buy stocks.”

It didn’t have to take a sharp nosedive in the markets or even watching last night “Daily Show” to know that the business media — print or TV — missed the boat on what was coming and what we should do about this. To be fair, print journalists such as Steven Pearlstein are the rare exception and not the rule. But by and large, the boat was missed — badly.

If ESPN behaved as badly as CNBC et al., I wouldn’t watch them, and millions would join me. But the financial news networks want us to watch them as if they are digging into the business world, and they aren’t.

The biggest business story in 70 years, and at least four 24-hour business channels at the command, and the story blew by them like a softly thrown knuckleball.

They can’t even cover the regular groundballs, almost as if there isn’t a glove in sight. The visuals from last night’s “Daily Show” tell a compelling story. “What’s it like to be a billionaire?”

How about “What’s it like to miss every single significant business story in the last year or so and not feel bad when that happens?”

In sports reporting, there is a phrase, “No cheering in the press box.” In business reporting, there is nothing but cheering for the business executives.

The business media channels might get the rest of us to watch them if they introduced objectivity into the spectrum. Ask a tough question or two. We don’t expect the business media to out-report the rest of the corporate media. But by comparison, the corporate media looks like Glenn Greenwald and Greg Palast when put up against the business media, especially on TV.

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Written by democracysoup

March 5, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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