Cuper Scooper: Sound and Fury

Cuper Scooper: Sound and Fury

Selene Rubino

This time I really am bored of the economy.

Image
 My friends and I were watching golf once during a lull in the conversation. As the golf ball slowly neared the hole, we spontaneously let out a cry of anticipation.
The ball got closer. "Oh…"
The ball was on the edge. "Ohh…"
The ball passed the hole. "OH!"

Who would have thought that golf could be so fun?

It's a long stretch, but every time I read the news on the financial crisis, I am reminded of that particular golf episode. Every day there seems to be a new scandal, debate, or horror story that is somehow pivotal to understanding the cause of the global recession. The hopeless declamations never end.

It started a year ago with the mortgage crisis. "Oh…"
It moved on to the foreclosure crisis. "Ohh…"
Bam! The bank bailouts hit. "OH!"

I understand the need to cover the recession; in fact, I've done it myself. But how much—really—concrete information exists that hasn't already been reported on?

Lately I've come across articles in the New York Times like "In an Auto Industry Hometown, a Familiar Financial Road," an all-too familiar hash of the woes of auto workers, or "Titans of an Age No Longer Golden," graphics comparing the salaries of bank executives to, of all things, the corresponding losses of their firms. I mean, wasn't short-sighted encouragement of immediate gains what got us into this mess?

It's easy to see why journalists find reporting on the recession so irresistible. First of all, it's a Big Issue. Journalists remain deluded that any article referencing the recession, no matter how randomly, is universally important and impacts the reader where it hurts. Even the Fashion section does this. I have caught the Mercury News attempting to coin the term "recessionista" to describe shoppers who (gasp) have to buy less.

Journalists are also doing penance for failing to see the mortgage crisis coming ahead of time. There have literally been conferences where respected reporters flagellate their own industry for not predicting that: an increase in sub-prime lending would kill the U.S. housing market which would then spread throughout the world banking system through toxic assets to result in a global recession.

Before the financial crisis, newspapers lost money to the internet and a general lack of interest. To increase circulation, many newspapers cut back on dry sections like News or Business and increased the Arts and Entertainment sections. Now that the recession has come around, journalists are left wondering whether they were too susceptible to public opinion. So now they write really boring articles that repeat the same economic issues over and over again.

What journalists fail to realize is that the current over-coverage of the financial crisis is as much of a fad as their previous over-coverage of lighter fare. The media cannot simply dwell on repetitions of economic woes. Amazingly enough, there are other world issues out there.