“The uncertain election result is the worst possible outcome and the major parties and crossbenchers must act quickly to form a government, business leaders say.” – AAP, July 3, 2016 Since when did the primary role of government become providing “certainty” to the business community? In fact, it’s hard to read a newspaper or turn on the TV these days without some rent-seeking plutocrat whining about the democratic […]
For millions of Australians forced to save for their own retirement, ‘finance’ is Alan Kohler on the news every night telling them what happened to the Baltic Dry index that day or explaining why Stock A’s share price went up when their earnings went down. The truth is that what happened in the global and domestic financial markets on any one day is hardly relevant to the vast majority […]
Journalism isn’t really a profession, much as some of its practitioners proclaim it to be. It’s much closer to being a trade or a craft. And like all crafts, success in journalism is usually achieved by getting not just one thing, but a number of small but critical things right. These small things include spelling people’s names correctly, accurately reporting what people said, answering all the key questions like […]
Who does the financial media represent? You, the investing public. Right? Wrong. The financial media tends to serve the interests of the banks, brokers and intermediaries whose job it is to stick you into investments where neither the risks nor extortionate fees are ever explained in plain language.
Journalists, as a rule, don’t do numbers. They’re words people – topped the class in creative writing; struggled in maths. And in most areas of reporting, that’s not a huge disadvantage. But when it comes to economics, it can leave them open to being conned. Take the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. That News Corp would run this set-piece through its lazy and deliberately misleading partisan filter (‘Labor’s Debt […]
‘Analysts say’: It’s the no-more-gaps of journalese. The dignifying of rent-a-quotes with the title of ‘analyst’ is all-purpose cover-up for the passing off of idle conjecture and sheer guesswork as the carefully though out prognostications of the prescient. Financial media is full of it. Up against deadline and desperate to find facts to fit the premise snatched from the ether by an editor in search of an easy splash, […]
An increasingly unhinged Australian mainstream media, with a few honourable exceptions, has been revving up the scary-o-meter in recent days about this country facing a future of debt, deficits and public penury for as far as the eye can see. “A decade of deficits spells a bleak future for Australians,” was the headline on the increasingly tabloid ABC television news, warning of a crisis bigger than the one […]
“Prediction is very difficult, particularly about the future.” Journalists would do well to keep in mind that aphorism from influential Danish physicist Nils Bohr when quoting “experts” about the outlook for financial markets, the economy and politics.
A health warning to mainstream media consumers: When a news story starts with the words “is expected to”, activate the BS detector. When that story involves forecasts about economic statistics, shift detector to warp speed.
A sub-narrative amid the media thumbsucking about the future of the Australian Labor Party after the leadership spill has been the ritual calls from business leaders for the removal of “uncertainty” – the idea being that the economy has ground to a standstill as the egos exchange handbags in Canberra.