The power of the media, gyrating and sliding

September 22, 2008

All one has to do is take a look at the Watergate Scandal to see what the power of journalism can do.

Woodward, Bernstein, U.S.A. = 1

Richard Nixon = 0

According to a new report from the New York Times, it appears our intrepid business reporters working in the major markets are fully self-aware of this strength in how the recent Wall Street financial crises are being presented to the public.

Knowing well that certain key descriptive words can bias readers for or against a subject, it looks like editors and reporters are going gentle on the adjectives and verbs when describing the fiscal mess our country is in:

“So in most of the news, stocks have “slid” and markets “gyrated” but not “crashed.” Companies have “tottered” and “struggled” rather than moved toward failure and bankruptcy.”

Case in point: the word “mess” might connote an irreparable situation. “Dilemma,” or “quandary,” in my opinion, are nouns that imply problems that can be fixed.

What do you think? Should the media stop tip-toeing around telling it like it is, when our job is to … well, to tell it like it is?

Totter, struggle, gyrate and slide all you like, but the truth is the truth and nothing but the truth, so help us Woodward and Bernstein.


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