I don’t know enough about economics to comment on practicalities of the current economic turmoil, but I want to instead reflect on the way the media – especially in the UK and USA – needs to change its vocabulary when reporting on what is going on. Take today’s BBC News article ‘Global shares keep on tumbling‘. It contains this passage:
Global falls have largely wiped out the gains earlier in the week, as fears of recession cancelled out any optimism from government bank rescue packages.
The credit crunch is at the root of the problems facing the UK and USA, and that’s been created by financial institutions. OK, high energy and food prices would have helped contribute to a global slowdown but not to the same extent. Banks are helping to self-sustain a slowdown, but you would not gather that from the way it’s reported.Â Banks in the UK are even whining that they cannot pay dividends to their shareholders if they accept some of the British government’s bail out funds. Not even The Guardian is critical. Do journalists see that the current environment it’s not business as usual?
Outside the UK aÂ USA Today article states:
Investors are worried. They’re anxious. Their heads are spinning from too many unanswered questions related to their financial security. Why is this happening? Why can’t the government fix things? Why can’t stocks mount a rebound â€” even for a day? Why is it that the Dow can drop almost 700 points in a matter of minutes?
Well, sorry, governments all over have done what they can to fix things. But why can’t the banks themselves find partial ways out of the mess they have landed us all in? Why have banks put us in this predicament?
In short we have our discourse completely wrong in the media about all of this. Financial institutions are the root cause of the problems our economies are facing currently, yet all of our journalists are so stuck in the groove that it’s financial institutions good, government bad. We need a new discourse to describe what is going on, and stating where blame is due.