Two clear thinkers about journalism reach a similar conclusion: at best, the mainstream media contributed little to the understanding of the current economic situation. At worst, they repeated the uncritical reporting of the so-called “March to War” in 2002-2003 and added to the panic state.
What you rarely found or heard was any serious questioning of whether the crisis was anywhere near the proportion George W. Bush said it was, or if the bailout was really necessary, or if the bailout would work, or if, maybe, the bailout might make things actually worse.
It could be argued that the American people, who pressured representatives to reject the bailout, saw through the clamor and clouds, but if you spend time reading comments on newspaper web sites, angry constituents reacted more viscerally than logically. If you support the reform, you should be concerned that the lack of depth in news coverage also failed to clearly communicate why the bailout was necessary and wise.
And here’s Jeff Jarvis:
I’m reminded of Bob Garfield’s chaos scenario for advertising, in which he argued that the old media world would crumble before the new media world was ready for marketers and advertising dollars would fall into the crevice between. That is what is happening with our political and financial and industrial and journalistic leadership. The old is crumbling fast — and angry voters yesterday helped push it over the cliff. But what now?