Geez. What happens when the mainstream media gets more downbeat than me? I've been a contented little bear over the last couple of years, thinking I knew the scoop. And then one evening, I'm watching THE NEWS HOUR WITH JIM LEHRER.... and, damn if they don't sound scarier than me!
An interview last night with JANE BRYANT QUINN, columnist for Newsweek,(admittedly, I'm editing to give you the most frightening comments....)
"I think right now..." the consumer is... "taking away the message that things are bad and they're going to get worse....
"So far, I would say it's been mostly jaw-boning to try to deal with the most significant financial crisis we've had since the 1930s....
"I am looking for, I'm afraid, not a very comfortable time for consumers....
"And, you know, Judy, over the long run -- if you look at where America is in the world, relatively speaking, we are getting poorer...
"This is going to be a hard thing for Americans to face."
And this comment from David Wessel of the Wall Street Journal,
"You know, the risk here is that we have a downward spiral...."
There was pretty much more of the same. Judy Woodruff had that classic sort of kiss off at the end, like she couldn't believe these subjects were so downbeat....a little shake of the head, like, oh never mind...silly economists. I recognize the signs. It's still not penetrating...
A few weeks ago, 60 Minutes did a show on Stockton, California which was also pretty scary. But the rest of us normal American citizens can always shake our heads, and say, 'oh, 60 Minutes, you muckrakers, you!' And most of us can always laugh and say, 'oh, those nutty Californians!'
And every day, I check The Housing Bubble Blog, by Ben Jones, who simply gathers news stories from local media around the country about the housing market. But up to now, it's just been lots and lots of separate news stories. Many of them are actually scarier than the interview I mention above. Sometimes, these stories are highlighted by nutjobs like me and Paul-doh and Bilbobuster. (Wouldn't it be a kick to the head to find out that Bilbo's worst nightmare is reality?) But mostly it's disconnected, and easily dismissed.
So when will we have the Walter Cronkite moment, when some respected newsman give us the real scoop? (We've been lied to about Vietnam).
Or do we have anybody left with enough credibility and integrity to do that?
Our "At long last, Senator, have you no shame?" moment.?
Sometime back, one of the local bloggers (I'm sorry, I don't remember who) suggested that at some point the negatives of the real estate market would just become too irresistible for the media not to cover, even if it makes the advertisers unhappy. The media loves blood in the water, the "Is the head dead yet?" moments.
I think we may have crossed that point with the national media, and it's moving down the ladder. Soon, any self respecting news outlet that tries to sugarcoat the news in this kind of atmosphere is just going to succeed in making themselves look foolish.
Because this is the real deal.
I still think, chances are we'll muddle through. If good old Murphy and his damn Law will just butt out. I'm not yet ready to buy gold and bury it in the backyard. But, Geez!
5 days ago