Yep, It’s a Panic

I want to set straight a contradiction that’s been irking me for the past few weeks. While the news media has been reporting slips, falls, and fluctuating markets, the actions of the people in charge have been pure adrenaline. Another word for that is panicking.

Since when do federal officials fly to Wall Street on weekends to broker massive bailout deals? Is this not panic?

How about major, historic investment houses suddenly converting into holding companies on a Sunday? People don’t do stuff like that on Sundays. Unless they’re panicking.

While the people at the apex of the crisis make desperate conciliatory moves with the economy, folks at the bottom of the hill are fed carefully sliced language to avoid a trickle-down effect.

According to the New York Times,

Each day presents new evidence that finance companies are uniquely vulnerable to a loss of confidence among creditors, trading partners, investors or customers. As a result, rumor, speculation and fear can cripple a bank with shocking speed. That has reporters and editors, so often accused of hyperbole and sowing alarm, parsing their words with unusual care.

“We’re very careful not to throw words around like ‘meltdown’ and ‘free fall,’ ” said Ali Velshi, senior business correspondent at CNN. “If someone wants to say the markets are in free fall, we’ll discuss it first,” he said, and the outcome is most likely to be a change in wording.

Hey, media!
Since when is it your duty to wax diplomatic?* Hyperbole hurts, but so does the truth. And from what I’ve seen on the ground, people are quite aware that this country is out of money.

One final, ironic link remains. The markets haven’t crashed at time of writing. I venture that the media’s tiptoeing has something to do with keeping indexes afloat while the plump kitties on top figure out what to do next. If the media doesn’t watch its wording, and people on the ground panic, said kitties will point fingers at the media, which will then be cowed. Or ashamed. But since when is that the media’s role?

Main Street is on the verge of scattering the whole mess far and wide, but if we can keep the stock market teeter-tottering just long enough for the Wal-Market to come up with definitive-sounding answers, we stand a chance of mitigating doomsday.

The media is applying verbal Prozac to its readers in order to avoid blame for further economic fallout.

Regrettably, it also thinks its readers are stupid.

*The article says that CNBC, for example, regularly broadcasts stock-moving scoops based on rumors or tips from unsubstantiated sources.

  • Unfortunately, the media is quite correct in assessing that most of its readers ARE stupid. Where was the American public when the foundations of our prosperity were quietly dismantled and shipped overseas, and our learned economists told us that this would make our economy “more efficient” even as our trade deficits set record after record and consumer credit card debt spiralled out of control? Where were all these smart readers when special interests persuaded their political leaders that deregulation would free up latent entrepreneurial energies and lead to unprecedented economic growth? And then after the S&L Crisis, and Enron/Arthur Anderson, and Tyco and on & on, where were these brilliant readers of yours when the country was clearly returning to the robber baron era of corrupt megacorporate leadership? And where were they when the same fraudulent lending practices that led to the S&L Crisis where once again in force over-inflating the current real estate credit bubble, while a corrupt Washington administration was misleading us into a $3 Trillion dollar war in Iraq while Al Qaeda was regrouping in the mountains of Pakistan? I think that the evidence is overwhelming & quite damning: these readers of yours are IDIOTS. They are sheep who are easily herded into the slaughterhouse holding pens, which is where they are right now, and while many of them have already been sheared of large chunks of their acquired wealth (while their shepherds are busy checking their golden parachutes), many more are destined to become the lamb chops of Globalism. Yes, the corporate media are wise to mince their words, lest they cause a stampede before the shepherds have all made their “rescue” deals, and handed their final bills to, you guessed it, your readers. Wow! I’m really impressed by their obvious intelligence.

  • Drea,

    It’s a mess and it’s a panic. And while the signs have been there for a long time, ignored by many, I don’t think the media, Wall Street, or the administration is playing to the public’s stupidity. They are attempting to avoid the kind of sickening spiral downward that happens when everyone panics enough to rush the banks, brokers, and bastions of business. Let’s keep our wits about us.


  • Hoodoo

    The sky is falling! Actually it may really be this time. No one really knows. Capitalism is really based on greed for money, there are no ethics for capitalists. Unfortunately, this is also true for socialists, they have greed for power,and they have no ethics either. Everything ought be about balance, but there are no scales. Arguably this should be the governments job, but government has been for many years, turning into a big wad of corruption (of many types), and has declined morally, ethically, and professionally. As for the media, it is both smarter about some things and incredibly stupid about others. In short, it is also turning into the same stinking mass as the government. We may be approaching another time where revolution is inevitable and all the risks that this radical development entails…that is, if the sky is really falling.