OLD Media Moves

Economics coverage should be like March Madness

March 24, 2006

Ray Unger, who writes a business column for The Capital Times in Madison, Wisc., wishes that the people talking about the economy in the media had a scorecard to determine when they were right and when they were wrong — kind of like the NCAA tournament.

Capital TimesUnger writes, “If only the stock market had a March Madness season, where all the eloquent talking heads could be proven right or wrong over a short time span. For example, last week on CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box,’ the early morning TV business show, co-hosts Joe Kernen and Mark Haines interviewed two economists on the state of today’s typical consumer. They first blustered with an incredible lexicon of economic ‘facts’ that left no doubt that we’re heading for the abyss – consumers are so up to their eyeballs in debt that it’s a foregone conclusion that wholesale bankruptcies are right around the corner followed by collapsing retail sales and GDP. The next economist – almost like a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit, but with only slightly more tact – said something like, ‘You fool, don’t you see this, this and this and how incredibly wrong you are?’

“If these guys were sports writers at least the outcome of their predictions would quickly determine who was right and wrong. Unfortunately in the business world we have to live with this stuff day in and day out with no game buzzer to end the debate. And you wonder why professional money managers have such a hard time beating the averages.”

Read the column here, and remind me never again to pick Gonzaga for the Final Four.

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