John Stossel is Utterly Clueless

John Stossel is another Pervasive Pollyanna of Prosperity.

Read his most recent bensteinery called Dire News from My Colleagues:

"BMI took a novel approach. It compared the economic-news coverage by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post from Oct. 28 to Nov. 3, 1929, around the time of the stock market crash, with the coverage by ABC, CBS and NBC from March 13 to 19 of this year.

"The difference between how the 1929 and 2008 media handled a crisis was profound — with modern journalists hyping every event." Today’s coverage is much more alarmist. In 2008, few reporters pointed out "the differences between today’s economy and the nation’s darkest economic years, or bothered to note that America is not in a depression."

Here’s a newsflash, John:  We had a crash equivalent to back then — the 1929 Dow and the 2000 Nasdaq each lost ~80%. The most recent crash started more than eight years ago, and ended about 5 years ago.

BMI’s comparison is  is a foolish and ignorant. If you want to compare news coverage, try 1933/34 rather than these two totally incongruous periods.

Stick to exposés of organic vegetables. Markets, media and economics are not your forté . . . 

 

Source:
Dire News from My Colleagues
John Stossel   
July 02, 2008
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/07/dire_news_from_my_colleagues.html

~~~

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Bob commented on Jul 2

    Awesome! Stick it to Stossel.

  2. KirkH commented on Jul 2

    Ahh, the rare optimistic libertarian.

    I’ve loved reading these happy predictions in the news for the last two years. When not many know what’s going on it’s a lot easier to make money.

  3. Alex F commented on Jul 2

    Maybe the newspapers back then weren’t very alarmist, but in 1929 the cable news and the blogs were out of control! Talk about wild-eyed…

  4. leftback commented on Jul 2

    I like the phrase “bensteinery”.

    What about TV people getting so excited they have a “suzeormanism” ? Not too long since she was banging on about how everyone should get a nice big tax deductible mortgage…

  5. Andy Tabbo commented on Jul 2

    Too bad. I sort of liked Stossel as he is a fellow Libertarian.

    But here’s the issue…. And people in the media don’t understand this. The media DOES NOT make the trend. The media DOES NOT make anything happen. The media is only REFLECTING the mood of the market. We have gone from a period of bullishness and now we’re in a period of bearishness. All the news will now be bearish. Bullish data will be ignored. Bearish news will be highlighted. The media’s role is to help herd the sheep into the pen.

    We’re in a vicious bear market folks. It will not end for awhile. Just stay long PUTS. If you get a rally, get longer PUTS and just say “thank you.”

    – AT

  6. dukes commented on Jul 2

    Stossel is such a tool!

  7. Steve Barry commented on Jul 2

    I guess he doesn’t watch Kudlow. Tonight’s show was great. That Dennis Kneale always has great rationale for his calls.

    If we get a 50bp hike by ECB and/or very weak jobs (I know, birth/death), the dollar will become a smoldering crater. That could easily send oil to $150 in a shortened trading day…then we’ll see who is alarmist. In fact, the S&P on just a 5 point gapdown, breaks the March low. Dow down 500 is not out of the question.

  8. Chris commented on Jul 2

    Stossel seems to be suggesting that the media shapes economic reality….That can’t be further from the truth.

  9. chad commented on Jul 2

    Is this Digg now?

  10. Bob A commented on Jul 3

    You were reading John Stossel? because…?

    Next thing ya know you’ll be telling us you were watching that clown dude with the money show.

    Just say no.

  11. Douglas Watts commented on Jul 3

    Schlemiel, Schlamazel, Stosselfeffer Corporated !!!

  12. Awake! commented on Jul 3

    Stossel also needs to stay away from wrestling – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrX9Ca7LSyQ

    PS: Most of those, including Stossel, who claim to be libertarian are really not because, among other problems (including a general ignorance of the relevant literature), they can’t seem to detect the difference between license and liberty.

  13. Etz commented on Jul 3

    bensteinery is correct.

  14. Robert commented on Jul 3

    Stossel’s point is good and I’m surprised you don’t get it. The press corps during the depression had a long term optimistic perspecitve. And they were proven right. Today’s press corp has a naive, pessimistic, anti capitalist, short term, negative worldview. Particularly when the president is a Republican.

    ~~~

    BR: The press was optimistic during the depression?

    If you are going to just make shit up, I won’t even bother to make fun of you.

  15. Douglas Watts commented on Jul 3

    Today’s press corp has a naive, pessimistic, anti-capitalist, short term, negative worldview.

    You are trying to be humorous, I presume.

  16. VJ commented on Jul 3

    Don’t even get me started on Stossel. He’s a complete and utter nitwit.
    .

  17. Troy commented on Jul 3

    Today’s press corp has a naive, pessimistic, anti-capitalist, short term, negative worldview.

    Starting with Mrs Greenspan no doubt

  18. wunsacon commented on Jul 3

    Time to ask the obvious: *if* the media in 1929 wasn’t alarmist, why not? On what planet would non-alarmist coverage be appropriate considering the ensuing drastic reductions in living standards? What planet are these retards from?

    I’m not sure what’s “wrong” with people like Stossel and Robert (above). But, something *is* wrong.

    By the way, I’m more than happy to see Ben Stein’s last column on Yahoo. (A dose of long-term bullishness.) I hope he puts his money where his mouth is. Take Ben Stein’s money?? Sure! I’ll play the home game.

    >> Most of those, including Stossel, who claim to be libertarian are really not because, among other problems (including a general ignorance of the relevant literature), they can’t seem to detect the difference between license and liberty.

    Yes! No doubt you’ve seen the “pro-pollution” lobby infiltrate libertarian circles, as though externalities and tragedy of the commons are positives. I’ve seen some smart libertarians fall for this.

    I guess we all “fall” for something. Me gotz to figure out my own shortcomings…

  19. chas commented on Jul 3

    Good point, but Barry, please stick to English — French is not your fort: there is not e or accent on the masculine noun fort.

    Regards,
    Chas (moi ? Je suis américain!)

  20. commented on Jul 3

    “investing less and taking fewer economic risks — thereby aggravating bad economic conditions.”

    This is the problem with such inflationary environments, you have to risk your money just to break even against inflation. Why the hell should I have to risk my money damit!

  21. jz commented on Jul 3

    Stossel needs to know his history. My grandmother told me the 1929 crash was no big deal at the time. Historians have made it such, but in reality, she said the crash of 1932 was much more severe, and when I checked things out, she was right. This is from Wiki, “The stock market turned upward in early 1930, returning to early 1929 levels by April, though still almost 30 percent below the peak of September 1929.”

    But with gas hovering near $5 a gallon, food prices going through the roof, and people losing their shirts in the market, I can’t believe someone would have the nerve to write, “We are not even in recession.”

    Even though consumer sentiment is at a multi-decade low we are supposed to rely on bogus government GOP figures. The method used to calculate the rising GDP must be in the same bunker as those WMDs.

  22. Ritchie commented on Jul 3

    jz: “I can’t believe someone would have the nerve to write, “We are not even in recession.””

    John Stossel is a highly paid media employee. How can he and his friends see anything like a recession? But with declining sales in businesses all over the country, layoffs, and soon to come declines in advertising, John, and his friends, are likely to see some of their numbers unemployed soon. With a further decline in the economy and cuts in salary, we may see them motivated to find out why their rich lives are crumbling. Or so I’m guessing.

  23. cinefoz commented on Jul 3

    Sorry, I can’t find eloquence here. Stossel just makes me want to puke.

  24. Mr. Obvious commented on Jul 3

    I used to really like Stossel. Problem is, I’m not so sure he is a libertarian any more, but more of a righty. His meme the past few years has been “the evil media empire.” C’mon, give me a break.

    And for the record, the right…and Stossel…is setting up this recession (as they did the housing crash) as a media-driven event. If you can’t even be intellectually honest, I really don’t want to even listen to you.

  25. bluestatedon commented on Jul 3

    “…the right…and Stossel…is setting up this recession (as they did the housing crash) as a media-driven event.”

    And make no mistake, if Obama is unlucky enough to get elected, Stossel, Rush, Fox, et al will immediately begin blaming every aspect of the economy on Obama. The housing crash, the credit market meltdown, the plunge of the dollar, failing banks — all will be laid at the feet of Obama and the Democrats. The legacy of George Bush will be spit-shined, polished, and buffed to a high sheen as he becomes the misunderstood financial and military genius whose brilliant policies were thwarted by the evil liberals who controlled Congress during his entire two terms. Nah, it won’t matter one bit that the GOP was in total control for 6 years and were able to completely obstruct during the final 2; remember, Bush dead-enders manufacture their own reality.

    And anybody who can state “Today’s press corp has a naive, pessimistic, anti-capitalist, short term, negative worldview” has quite obviously not spent one minute watching business shows on that strange glowing box in the corner of his living room. It’s the perfect illustration of Stephen Colbert’s “reality has a liberal bias.”

  26. VennData commented on Jul 3

    Pollyanishness has hit a Permanent Plateau

  27. Chris D. commented on Jul 3

    I used to like Stossel when I was a kid, but he jumped the shark years ago.

  28. unfettered commented on Jul 3

    The Stossel piece was a real eye-roller for me too. George Will and Fareed Zakaria come to mind as people who write solid pieces on politics and culture, but then pen highly misinformed columns about economics. In the latter case, Mr. Zakaria also fashions himself as an expert on global warming. These columnists should learn from Warren Buffett about staying within one’s circle of competence.

  29. Steve commented on Jul 3

    Until suicides in NYC double or triple then we are not in a depression. I doubt very much that anyone see’s a depression coming or ever does… the scale & depth of human misery associated with such an event is difficult to internalize so we gloss over & diminish the event. When people compare today’s environment with the Great Depression they diminishing the scale & human misery of the depression.

  30. Robert commented on Jul 3

    I don’t watch CNBC and don’t consider it the “press corps”. Neither did the study. It compared 3 national newspapers with history back to that time period.

    The national economy isn’t good. But isn’t in a recession either. Unless you are just going to change long accepted definitions. Certain state economies are horrible.

    I didn’t say that the press corps during the entire length of the depression was optimistic, I said they had a ‘long term’ optimistic perspective compared to the press corp of today.

    http://www.amazon.com/Learned-Optimism-Change-Your-Mind/dp/1400078393/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215093391&sr=8-1

  31. Douglas Watts commented on Jul 3

    When people compare today’s environment with the Great Depression they are diminishing the scale & human misery of the depression.

    True. However, in the State of Maine the consequence of $140 oil this winter is going to be approaching Depression level because people will not be able to afford to heat their homes. Oil companies will not deliver heating oil to a delinquent account and thousands of Maine households will still have not caught up on last winter’s oil bill when the coming winter hits. That means no oil — no heat.

    Here’s another indicator from today’s Bangor Daily News that Mr. Stossel somehow “missed.”

    Economy forcing people to make the toughest cut: family pets

  32. lutton commented on Jul 3

    >>modern journalists hyping every event.” Today’s coverage is much more alarmist.

    Iraq war build up, anyone?

  33. bdg123 commented on Jul 3

    There are actually some similarities to 1929. Not everything lines up. If you look beyond the stock market, which does not match up unless one sees a bigger picture, the underlying fundamentals are astoundingly similar in many respects. One must also remember we will never repeat exactly what happened in history because policy wonks institute newer thinking on dealing with economic crises.

  34. KMarx commented on Jul 3

    Why should anyone pay much attention to Stossel? He, like so many of his friends on Wall Street, in the Administration and Congress never worked an honest day in his life. Stossel & friends have no concept of what it’s like to be out of work for months or years, a landmark of achievement under the present junta. Perhaps Stossel defends the junta because he fully supports what cheney and the asshole-in-chief are doing in the Middle East on behalf of Israel and Halliburton!

  35. Melancholy Korean commented on Jul 3

    Hahaha. That’s great.

    It’s weird to me that in a world where information is so easily available (as opposed to the market in ’28 – ’29, say, or the Eighties when insider trading was rampant, according to the old hands at my former firm) that snake oil salesmen have any audience at all.

    They are only a click away, the sites run by people with integrity, intellectual honesty, and real experience in the markets. Maybe because it’s hard to tell the difference? An easy way is to ask, which sites immediately own up to their mistakes and incorrect calls, and which ones are forever rationalizing, justifying, obfuscating and hyperventilating to hide them. (This test works well for things like, oh, justifications going to war, too.)

    For example, Soros makes money not because his “theories” on reflexivity are correct, good grief, no, I mean this is not the first time he’s called for a massive downturn due to a Super Bubble, but because he’s not tied down to being “right” and his back aches if he’s positioned wrong; if things change, he changes. Sticking to a particular ideology, whether political or economic, if one is working in the real world, as opposed to academia or opinion journalism, is a costly indulgence.

  36. ottnott commented on Jul 3

    robert, vainly trying to defend himself against BR’s stinging rebuke, writes:
    “The national economy isn’t good. But isn’t in a recession either. Unless you are just going to change long accepted definitions.”

    Would you be talking about this definition from NBER?
    “[A] recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.”

    Sounds like an apt description of the current economy to me.

  37. Mysticdog commented on Jul 3

    Why does anyone take John Stossel seriously? He has never been right on anything. At all. Every expose’ has been a study of dishonest journalism for what… two decades now?

    Why is he even allowed on the air at this point?

  38. Robert commented on Jul 3

    Would you be talking about this definition from NBER?
    “[A] recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.”

    Define ‘significant’. Define ‘spread’. Define ‘more than a few’.

    Less growth is not a recession. I personally like this one.

    A recession is defined to be a period of two quarters of negative GDP growth

  39. Awake! commented on Jul 3

    “A recession is defined to be a period of two quarters of negative GDP growth.”

    A lot of folks seem to like this definition for some reason but it is not used officially anywhere: NBER, the official arbiter of such things as recognizing recession, does not use either “two quarters” or “negative GDP growth” as a standard much less combine these qualia and economists generally consider such standards arbitrary (AKA invalid).

    “Define ‘significant’. Define ‘spread’. Define ‘more than a few’.”

    All of these terms and more are addressed in NBER’s methodology but not necessarily tightly defined; e.g., http://www.nber.org/cycles/recessions.html

    That the methodology accepts the possibility of indeterminacy and eschews simplistic benchmarks or formulae such as “2 quarters” plus “negative GDP” equals “recession” basically represents recognition of the fact that economic contractions can be, well, rather complex events. It also recognizes that economic data may not be robust or timely; e.g., NBER’s mandate requires monthly appraisals but one of the strongest statistics only appears quarterly, Real GDP as calculated by BEA.

  40. Kaleberg commented on Jul 3

    The crash of ’29 was generally played down even as the economy collapsed over the next several years. The national press and radio played down the nation’s serious problems. At worst, it was a correction. There was corporate media back then too. Doesn’t anyone else remember William Randolph Hearst? FDR’s victory and the Democratic takeover of Congress was something of a surprise. The press could be pretty out of touch, even back then.

    Of course, by 1933, everyone accepted that we were in a Depression, but there was an awful lot of wishful thinking. We’re still in the wishful thinking stage, maybe around 1931 or 1932. Hollywood cranked out a lot of movies arguing that all the economy needed was a bit of hard work and some gumption. (Try Magic Town or Mr. Boggs Steps Out).

    Mark Twain said that history doesn’t repeat itself, it rhymes. The same forces are at work, though the details may differ. Real estate collapsed in the mid-20s and the money then raced into the market bubble. Our market collapsed in 2000 and the money raced into the real estate bubble. There were tax cuts in the mid-1920s and in the early-2000s, and both led to rising deficits. In both eras, the markets were relatively unregulated. (Oh yeah, Republicans were in charge in both eras too).

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