The mainstream media almost never asks economists about economic issues (click to embiggen). Instead, it takes a group like ProPublica to out bullshit talking points like “job-killing regulations”.
Somewhat related: I assume the liberal New York Times is one of the few reporting that the
insurance rate for young adults percentage of young adults with health insurance has been growing ever since the apocalypse that is Obamacare went into effect.
That is a cute chart!
All of our ire should be directed at the failed institution that is our current press corps. This is but one data point in a ocean of data points. Just yesterday there was a news story claiming you had a better chance of being hit by the satellite that is falling to earth than you do of winning the lottery, one headline even claiming your chance of being hit was 1 in 3200! (The chance that it would hit someone was 1 in 3200. Your chance would be that times the current world population, roughly.) I honestly think the media exists now to make us dumber. It’s the only way their behavior makes sense.
Economists are boring. They try to argue with ‘facts’ and ‘data’. Other guests can give erroneous but easy to digest sound bites and absurd reductions that make everyone feel smarter than those Ivory Tower elites. News is entertainment, after all. If you want to be informed get to a charter school or for-profit on-line University.
@Comrade Javamanphil: This. The media we have now exists to distract, misinform, and confuse the public so that they are unable to act in their own interest. Corporate media will always act on behalf of corporate interests, so hoping they will “wake up and do their jobs” is nothing but an exercise in futility.
You wouldn’t want the MSM to muddy the news with facts, would you?
@javamanphil So you’re saying there’s a chance I could be hit by falling space debris? Why isn’t the government doing something to protect us from the falling sky? There is probably some decaying orbit entitlement out there keeping this space junk from feeling the full brunt of gravity. Typical.
My favorite media story happened this summer when a reporter was writing about 90-some-odd degrees Fahrenheit weather in some place and said clearly and repeatedly that the temps were almost to the boiling point of water.
Aside from the confusion between C and F, apparently the reporter didn’t consider what would happen to animals of all kinds, including humans, at temperatures even close to the boiling point of water. Death would abound. And since the reporter didn’t mention all the dead bodies, I would think that the temperature was much too cool to boil water spontaneously.
To be pedantic, the insurance rates are climbing for just about everyone; the percent insured is climbing for young adults. But it’s falling for older Americans, as one might expect in this economy.
@beltane: Neil Postman’s theory was that news designed to be entertaining is incapable of informing. And everything on television, he argued, even the most supposedly serious subjects, is presented as entertainment.
I don’t feel like going into moderation, but you can Google “neil postman amusing ourselves to death cartoon” if you’d like to see an excellent depiction of the foreword to “Amusing Ourselves to Death” (which inspired the Roger Waters album “Amused to Death”) in comic book form.
Agreed. Everything on TV has one purpose: get more eyeballs to the commercials. Ideas and analysis make people flip the channel. Look! Kardashians! Dancing!
My own truthism
One bitter fact is two bit hacks populate the third rate fourth estate who are truly the fifth columnists.
@RossInDetroit: Absolutely. And Postman argued– back in 1985– that it was even worse than that. It’s not just that TV eschews discussion of serious stuff for pictures of Kardashians, it’s that the very format of TV precludes serious discussion of anything.
Writing on ABC’s very serious-appearing discussion of The Day After, featuring Carl Sagan, Brent Scowcroft, William F. Buckley, Elie Wiesel, Henry Kissinger, Robert McNamera, and I believe a few other serious-appearing aging whites, Postman noted that no one ever attempted anything like a back-and-forth argument:
Nothing would be worse for television, or more essential for reasoned discourse, than pausing for a few seconds to collect one’s thoughts in response to someone else’s argument.
@Feudalism Now!: It’s worse than that. It’s a *government-funded* falling object from space. Worse still, the falling object was put up there in the first place to study the atmosphere and climate issues. Clearly, this is just another attempt by Obama and the soshalists to take away America’s freedoms.
Wait, are you saying there are more than 3200 people in the world?
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Mino: I had to hover over the NY Times link to realize he wasn’t talking about price.
A Mom Anon
They aren’t scared of anyone but the teabaggers calling them liberal media. That’s all that seems to move them.They’re insulated millionaires so why the hell do they care? This recession isn’t hurting them,so why should they bother giving a shit?
Like I said yesterday,ever wonder why Boeing and Lockheed have ads on tv? They ain’t advertising to you and me folks. They buy ads so they can influence content. Same goes for drug makers and chemical companies and anything else in those catagories. THAT’S a huge part of the problem. How to solve it? I honestly have no idea.
@Feudalism Now!: “There is probably some decaying orbit entitlement out there keeping this space junk from feeling the full brunt of gravity. Typical.”
Gravity is only a theory; ‘intelligent falling’ should be taught as well.
I think it goes deeper than that. In addition to not presenting thought and analysis, TV promotes the idea that thought and analysis are irrelevant and unnecessary. If you got the idea that there might be serious things you should be thinking/doing you might turn off the set and try to think/do them. It’s about making people’s outlook on their lives infantile so they accept superficial entertainment in place of actually living.
Serious things are only presented if they’re entertaining and the viewer is powerless to do anything about them. Hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, revolutions in foreign places.
@SiubhanDuinne: Some people claim that there are more. But some people say it is 3200 exactly. I guess we’ll never know.
This isn’t actually true. In the specific case of Fox News, it really does have an ideological purpose. Getting eyeballs is a method. That’s why it’s so important to point out the near decade it spent losing money but subsidized for its political utility.
Rich people aren’t stupid and outclassed in thought by liberals or blogs. They do in fact realize, and have for the last century, the value of owning various media and thereby promoting their interests. It’s not like we’re here able to understand such things, but billionaires and their hired hacks are unaware that the same PR methods used to sell widgets and services have successfully sold favorable policies and politics for generations.
Capturing eyeballs isn’t that difficult, nor is whipping up an environment helpful to their interests.
Experts. What do they know?
@Comrade Javamanphil: This population discussion has been fascinating, but we’ll have to leave it there.
Tune in next thread for when we once again take a look at another topic and leave you no better informed.
In defense of Fox news Hayak and Mises are dead so who would they ask?
Those insured young people hate Obama though because there was no public option/
@Mino: You’re right, I re-worded.
@RossInDetroit: I agree that it goes deeper than that. Your point, that “[i]t’s about making people’s outlook on their lives infantile so they accept superficial entertainment in place of actually living”, is new to me, and makes a lot of sense.
I’ve tended to think of it more as, the manner of talking about politics and other ostensibly serious stuff on TV comes to seem to us the normal and proper way to think about and discuss these things.
As Postman put it, nobody buys an album to find out the baseball scores. But we use TV– and TV presents itself as– the way to find out about pretty much everything. (The Internet has happened, too, of course, since Postman wrote. I hope that Nicholas Carr isn’t right about that, but I’m afraid that for most of us, he is. For example, nobody listens to, much less buys, albums anymore).
Stupid has always been with us, of course. But I’m not sure it’s ever been quite so dominant in our culture as it is today.
George Bush Sr. hired Lee Atwater and said a good amount of stupid stuff, but at the end of the day, he cared about governance. For example, even though it went against GOP talking points, he signed, and was very proud of signing, the ADA. George Bush Jr., I think, really believed that the “McLaughlin Group” was the alpha and the omega of political discourse.
And in a world where Bush Jr. could BS his way into invading an arbitrarily selected foreign country, occupy it incompetently and disastrously, but win re-election in some measure because the people who talk about politics on TV thought he looked good in a pilot’s costume, who’s to say he was wrong?
As one insightful commentator— i.e., one of my general height, weight and build– put it a little while back, “It’s no accident that one of the angry young GOP freshmen got his start on an MTV reality TV show. It’s the same skill set.”
Your comments is winsome.
I’d say a lot of our current troubles in that respect come from another form of “expert-bashing” – the conservative whining about the “liberal media” and how they didn’t like that it told them things they didn’t want to hear, eventually leading to the end of the Fairness Doctrine and the rise of talk radio and the current clusterfuck.
The hostility to professionals and the push for their replacement by politically vetted stooges has been happening all over the map. Economics and more generally anything academia-related. Science. Media. Foreign and national security policy. The DOJ. Anything you can think of that might have the slightest political implications has been politicized all the way to hell and back. It’s one of the main reason think tanks were created in the first place.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent): A comma would have fixed it, heh, heh.
The Republic of Stupidity
Don’t forget the codpiece…
It was the codpiece that really sealed that deal…
EC: It’s been a while since we batted this around. In that time Fox canned Beck. It could be that he was losing influence but it’s more likely that his ad slots weren’t worth a dime because advertisers wouldn’t touch him.
Gin & Tonic
About a month ago, in an Economist piece about HBO, a guy from that company (yes, biased, of course, but still) said: “If you’re not paying for television, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.”
@Gin & Tonic:
“If you’re not paying for television, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.”
This is true. TV viewers think the programs are the product and they are the consumer. In truth, their attention is the ‘product’ and the advertisers are the consumers. Just look where the money flows and the nature of the transaction is clear.
I like this site, but I’m not sure you guys understand how the other side thinks. To them, that fact that the insurance rate for 18-25 year olds is increasing isn’t good, it’s bad. If more people are being insured, it means money that was formerly being spent on “the good people” is now being shared with “the bad people.” Anyone who didn’t have health insurance as of 2008 is a bad person, not economically viable. The free market determined that those people do not contribute enough “value added” to be worth receiving health insurance. So the fact that a greater % of people have health insurance under the new system isn’t a feature, it’s a bug.
@Comrade Javamanphil: I don’t think the media serves to make us smarter or dumber, though I agree it tends to accomplish the latter; it serves to perpetuate the ruling class. That—not providing news, not making a profit—is its prime directive.
This has been one of those things that keep me up at night, worrying.
I read that it gets over 100° in places like Arizona but never hear why the people don’t boil. Have they adapted? Do they drink anti-freeze? Take it by IV? Do hot chilies prevent boiling? Tacos? Why doesn’t anyone inform us? Would it be safe to visit? Are there a lot of boiled visitors lying about and this scandal has been covered up by our government or the chambers of commerce? What global warming causes it to get over 100° here and we don’t know what to do? Our media has failed.
The satellite in question (UARS) has exhausted all its supply of propellant for maneuvering, and so there really isn’t anything NASA/the government can do to exercise any further control over the trajectory of the satellite’s rapidly decaying orbit or how rapidly it decays to the terminal point. The satellite is the size of a bus, and NASA is depending on the graceful degradation of most of its parts through intense drag forces and incineration, and the fact that most of the territory it passes over is unoccupied ocean or sparsely populated. Even if they had means to deliberately smash it into fragments, that wouldn’t be a good idea, since some of the fragments would remain in orbit to become shrapnel threatening other rockets and satellites, and actually increase the chances others of the fragments of tougher material that reentered would scatter, survive, and hit someone.
In short, it’s too difficult and far too expensive to do anything except hope the low probabilities of fragments hitting anyone work out. What they really should do is require satellites of this size to carry a reservoir of propellant to be used only to insure its eventual reentry point years down the line will be in a safe, unpopulated location. That’s essentially what the Soviets did with their earlier-model manned space station of similar size; they brought it down into the south Pacific Ocean.
This is an interesting pragmatic possibility for getting people to take global warming seriously. “Do you really want to see millions of babies boiled to death?”
Villago Delenda Est
Sarah Palin got her start on teebee “news”.
Villago Delenda Est
Fat chance that will ever happen, it will cut into some CEO’s bonus.
Gilles de Rais
@Ezra: I think we all got that just fine. That “the other side” thinks that have-nots are Untermenschen worthy only of the slave camps or being harvested for spare parts to keep the Galtian “producers” alive is not lost on anyone posting here.
I don’t understand the point of this post. Kthuglu demonstrates on a daily basis that economists, even some of the most renown, can be as big a hack as typical our typical Villager pundit. Who do you think is leading the charge for austerity? What the TV news people know that you don’t though is that these guys will just deliver the same message in a manner that is disinteresting to viewers. Which is funny because you were the one posting about the importance of entertaining information just the other day. And criticizing these very same networks for disrespecting their audience by not being entertaining enough. How is bringing a bunch of economists on to blather about going to improve that? And what precisely do you expect them to say that is any different than what the bobbleheads say?
This is made up in your brain, and is not true.
Speaking of non-economists explaining how to fix the economy, Mitch Daniels was on the Daily Show last night with his new book. Jon Stewart was polite but confronted Daniels with actual numbers when Daniels did the don’t tax job producers bit. Stewart brought actual facts and numbers showing that more jobs and job growth happened during the 90’s when there were higher taxes then currently with lower taxes — so how did Daniels explain that?
Facts were used in a television argument. Daniels really had no answer. Anyhow, the link is here if anyone wants to see a faux news anchor do a real interview. Maybe that is why he is faux — most real anchors aren’t that substantial. Stewart complained that Paul Ryan won’t book the show — probably all of those numbers scare him away.
I bitch about The Krug’s political commentary constantly, but ‘as big a hack as typical our typical Village pundit’ are fighting words he in no way deserves.
Who do I think is leading the charge for austerity? Not Kthug. If you think that he is you are either not reading his posts or misunderstanding them at a fundamental level. Either way, this is just useless commentary.
The Spy Who Loved Me
More young people are insured because (yes, thanks to ACA) Mom and Dad can keep them on their insurance policy until age 26, even if they’re not in school. And it’s not costing the government money, except for perhaps federal workers, because Mom and Dad are toting the note. If you’re over age 26 and don’t have a job with health benefits, you’re screwed. And there are a lot of people between 26 and 34 that now lack insurance. A whole bunch. For right now, not much help is available for them.
The Spy Who Loved Me
I wonder what great technological changes could have occurred in the 90s that might have spurred job creation? Hmmm, I know if I think hard enough, it will come to me…..
“Being the product” has been true since Edward Murrow fired Shirer in 1947 for making disparaging on-air remarks about the Truman Doctrine.
Murrow, ten years later, realized what was going on and went public in his 1958 Chicago speech:
but it snowed last year.
I think Brandon’s point was that Kthug demonstrates that OTHER economists can be big hacks (which they certainly can).
@The Spy Who Loved Me:
That’s not much of a point. The higher taxes of the 90’s did not stop people from investing and profiting from new technology, so the claim that taxes are what is inhibiting investment is as inaccurate now as it has been since the 1930’s. All of the presidents since FDR had higher taxes and most of them had more growth than we have now.