Business News Is Not A Good Business

Business news is bad. CNNfn is going off the air, and others may follow.

The greatest flaw, however, may have been the underlying idea. Though, ostensibly, a network devoted to business news is about business, in fact, during the 1990s when its popularity was peaking, business news was really about getting rich. Watching share prices crumble was less fun, and being misled by bulls was more costly than being misled by bears. Day traders have largely been wiped out. The reality of business—a tough, often tedious slog—and of investing may not be compelling enough for television. Last year people found it more enjoyable to watch Donald Trump pretend to share the secrets of getting wealthy. This year, as his Atlantic City casino empire flirts with bankruptcy, that too is losing its appeal (see article). How long before CNBC, like CNNfn, is fired?

I guess when you strip away all the speculators, day traders and the like, those of us who just like business news for the hell of it aren't enough to support many television stations. Maybe if Jerry Springer hosted a few shows he could make business news appeal to a broader market. I can see it now, transexual board members, CEOs in fistfights, and women who watch porn on their office computers…

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