77% of Americans Blame Media for Making Economic Crisis Worse

I don’t often put a lot of stock in public opinion polls, but this one might bear a little discussion:

Seventy-seven percent of Americans believe that the U.S. media is making the economic situation worse by projecting fear into people’s minds.

The majority of those surveyed feel that the financial press, by focusing on and embellishing negative news, is damaging consumer confidence and damping investment, making a difficult situation much worse. The poll was conducted via telephone, December 4 – 7.

We talk about the media’s ability to “undermine” the war effort or how they “give support to our enemies” by focusing on negative stories and spinning reports to fit some agenda. This is true, of course, but the actual, material effect on the campaign is minimal. With the exception of Koran flushing stories that rile up mobs of angry protesters or leaking sensitive information, news reports have a very limited ability to directly impact the battle.

When it comes to the spending habits of Americans, however, they’ve got a lot of sway. A constant stream of doom and gloom stories can certainly create a sort of “self-fulfilling prophecy” when people see the stories and decide they had better not spend money. This, of course, directly impacts consumer spending, which sets off another round of doom and gloom stories.

Not that caution in uncertain times isn’t a wise thing, and I’m not advocating sun and daisies reporting to convince people to spend more in order to prop up economic indicators. But the press certainly has an angle on this and is playing it hard.

Instapundit writes:

…it’s not as if there are no real economic problems — but if we’re in a “panic” then the tone of press coverage certainly could be expected to make a difference, and the press doesn’t seem to be trying to moderate its tone, something it does in other areas. After all, the press is exquisitely sensitive to the impact of its reporting when matters of race, gender, or sexual preference are concerned.

I’m betting that the media’s hammering this issue softens once Obama is sworn in.


  1. It seems like the media is America’s enemy on most fronts: social, economical, and militarily. Why is this? They are mostly Americans. You’d think that, living here, they’d be pretty big fans of this place.

  2. The MSM thrives on bad news; it can do nothing very well, or for very long, with good news. So . . . worse is better.

    The MSM is staring at its own bankrupt future; it can make that future look, maybe even seem, better if lots of others are going bust, too. So . . . worse is better.

    The MSM believes, I believe, that if it can consistently generate enough bad news for the rest of us, thus making the bad news come to pass, we may be a bit less independent and a bit more reliant on them for our own survival, because, after all, we’re all in this together. The truth could set us free. No sense taking any chance on that, not as long as a lie can keep us in thrall and buying our information from them.

    And so the MSM does what it does, and somehow believes that we will not notice because, up until now, we’ve failed to hold them to account, and have given the MSM a pass on this sort of behavior, not wanting to blame the messenger even though, as it happens, the messenger in this instance is also an instigator and, therefore, blameworthy.

    That’s the plan. It’s up to us to see to it that it doesn’t work . . . anymore.

  3. Relax, the worst is yet to come. With all the new dollars being printed, soon you guys will enjoy what we brazilians call the “inflation dragon”.

  4. So does that mean the 77% are wise to the media and won’t be fooled by them?

    Also Murdoc; on the military/media front their skewed coverage does tremendous damage in that war is a test of wills and if the American people loose the will to fight evil because of false media coverage the war will be lost regardless of battlefield victories. Moment of Truth in Iraq – by Michael Yon is a good book on this subject.

  5. Hannibal: Re: the military/media skewed coverage.

    There is no doubt that the biased coverage does terrible damage to the war effort. I’ve covered it for close to six years here on this site.

    When I say “the actual, material effect on the campaign is minimal,” that is exactly what I mean. A story in the Washington Post about how stupid Bush’s war to steal Iraqi oil is has not direct effect on a squad of Marines in Fallujah that Tuesday. None of them read it. None of the insurgents read it. It doesn’t affect the firefight in the alley that afternoon.

    The stories about the impending economic doom in America very clearly have a GREAT deal of real, measurable impact on spending habits.

  6. The root of the US economic problems is greed at just about every level. When enough people give enough, willingly or due to loss of savings, salaries, jobs, homes, cars, etc, then the economy will turn. I am by no means a MSM fan, at all. BUT the MSM might just help us reach the bottom sooner by helping more the ultra greedy people realize that they should start thinking and acting like there actually is a problem.

  7. All we have to do is convince some group of unstable zealots to start homicide bombing MSM outlets. And, wait for the MSM generated self escalating prophecy to occur.

    PS: Any of you unstable zealots reading this: This post is just a lame attempt at dark humor and NOT to be taken seriously! .)

  8. (spoken unnecessarily loudly) WHO WILL RID US OF THIS TROUBLESOME MEDIA?

    *ahem* Of course I’m only speaking theoretically. If any drunk, armed men happen to overhear, I hope they don’t take it too seriously.

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