OLD Media Moves

Sticking up for the big guy

March 12, 2009

James Poniewozik of Time writes about how business news network CNBC portrays itself as sticking up for the little guy, even when the little guy is the big guy of Wall Street.

Poniewozik writes, “CNBC’s reaction is colored by its stressed-out day trader’s focus on the short term. When ordinary people think about the economy, they think about jobs, college, retirement. Sure, the stock market affects them in the long run — but so do job security and the threat of getting wiped out by health-care bills. When CNBC considers the economy, it means Wall Street’s numbers that day, that hour, that minute. CNBC may pay lip service to the long term, but it has the time horizon of a fruit fly.

“This means that CNBC looks at everything, particularly politics, in terms of how it will affect ‘the Market.’ The commentators on CNBC murmur about the Market as if it were the Island on Lost: a mystic force that must be placated, lest it become angry and punish us. ‘The Market doesn’t like …’ ‘What the Market wants to see is …’

“And, oooh, is the Market cranky at Obama! The Market doesn’t like raising taxes on the wealthy (even if Buffett does). The Market doesn’t like government health-care reform or cap-and-trade environmental policy or big budgets or limiting bonuses at bailed-out banks. And don’t get the Market started on bank nationalization. That ticks the Market off!”

Read more here.

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