The lugubrious data just keep pouring in. Despite interest rates at zero, the economy is barely moving. Unemployment is high and seemingly intractable. The national debt and federal deficit are at all-time highs. States and municipalities are on the cusp of bankruptcy. Housing prices are flat or declining. And the price of gold, that uncaring indicator of calm or calamity, has now risen to a new high. In the year 2000 it sold for $300 per ounce. Last week it closed at $1,275.
It’s against this background that we can be grateful that there are journalists in our midst who have both the assignment and the knowledge to write informatively about our national travail. I refer, of course, to financial journalists.
As mentioned in earlier posts, however, these reporters are mainly to be found in business publications, or the “business” sections of general interest publications, and to that extent are walled off from the general public. And the reason this is a problem is because most of today’s political reporters don’t know enough to write informatively about things economic.
There are, of course, opinion writers who have knowledge of such matters – Paul Krugman and Robert Samuelson come to mind – but the great need for those of us trying to understand the nature of our crisis, and the way forward, is for coverage of these issues by news reporters.
Today’s economic problems, after all, transcend the arcane worlds of finance and macroeconomics; they are the reason for the unprecedented fear and anger afoot in the land. Indeed, they have led to the spontaneous creation of the powerful Tea Party movement.
Given the stakes in all of this, one would like to think that the mainstream news media would see the need for more reporters with economic backgrounds. In the meantime, though, here’s a salute (listed alphabetically so as not to show favorites) to all those “ink-stained wretches” who ply their trade, in coverage of commerce and finance, at the following: Barron’s, Business Week, The Economist, Financial Times, Forbes, Fortune, Investor’s Business Daily, and The Wall Street Journal.
May all of you survive and prosper. The nation needs you more than ever.
The opinions expressed above are those of the writer and not necessarily of The Media Institute, its Board, contributors, or advisory councils.