Thursday, February 28, 2008

Short Subjects

Barack Obama (and others) keep referring to “the recession.” Attention Sen. Obama: There is no recession; there is a very specific definition for recession, which is two consecutive quarters of negative growth. That hasn’t happened yet and, in fact, we haven’t even had one quarter of negative growth. Please, be honest, Senator. An honest person would not try to win a nomination based on untruths.

The American media is once again/still misinforming the American people. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said he expects some small, regional banks invested in real estate to fail, which was enough for the media to trumpet that there is a banking crisis in the United States. Just like the previous item, there is neither a recession nor a banking crisis in the United States. Currently there are 76 banks on the Fed’s worry list and that is more than the previous number of banks warranting the Fed’s concern. But 76 banks does not represent a crisis; it is making a mountain out of a mole hill. A real banking crisis occurred in the 80s, when ,1100 banks were on the worry list. Or worse, back in the 30s when for three or four years running 1,000 to 2,400 banks actually failed each year. That was a true crisis. The 80s were a lesser crisis. Today is no crisis.

On the subject of the media, the preceding item illustrates just how untrustworthy the American media has become. It comes down to media incompetence, media misfeasance, and/or media malfeasance. Please allow me to explain.

I am now working as executive director for a charitable foundation and in response to a news release we sent out recently about the beginning of our scholarship application cycle one of the local TV stations asked for an interview. When the reporter arrived at our office, the questions she asked me were so completely unrelated to the subject that it was all I could do to turn the answers into something that communicated what we were trying to communicate to the public. Without directly accusing the reporter of incompetence, it is accurate to say that she had no clue what a charitable foundation does, or what the news release meant.

Other times, we see the media reporting stories for the purpose of attracting viewers/readers/listeners. The banking story is one example of media misfeasance.

And the worst of the three, malfeasance, is where the media abandons its own standards to put out a story that is just false, like the recent New York Times cheap-shot non-story about John McCain’s imagined improper relationship with a pretty female lobbyist. More people trust President Bush, who is not a popular president, than trust The New York Times. Is there a message there?

On the positive side, Barack Obama recently refused to answer the “boxers or briefs” question from a reporter. Good for him. But a question: Is asking a candidate what type of underwear they wear relevant? Appropriate? Stupid?

No. No. Yes.

On the other hand, Sen. Obama’s dishonesty on the Iraq issue does more than counteract that. Sen. Obama claimed we are spending $12 billion each month in Iraq and that Sen. McCain has said that he will keep our troops there doing the same thing we are doing now for 100 years. That is simply wrong. What Sen. McCain said was that we will have a presence in Iraq for “perhaps” 100 years, not that we will be doing the same thing we are doing now for 100 years. Another example of blatant dishonesty from Sen. Obama.

And to bring this series of short subjects to a close, Ralph Nader has entered the race for president yet again. In 2000 his three percent of the vote has been blamed by Democrats and liberals for Al Gore loosing the election. God bless Ralph Nader.

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