OLD Media Moves

What do we call this mess?

December 11, 2008

Brian Stelter of the New York Times writes Thursday about the difficulties some business journalists are having in coming up with a name for the current economic crisis.

Stelter writes, “CNBC, which has seen sharp ratings gains in recent months, initially called the economic situation a ‘credit crisis.’ Eventually it became a ‘Wall Street crisis,’ and before long it was a ‘Wall Street/Main Street crisis.’ In the last week, ‘Great Recession’ has become a popular phrase.

“‘Sometimes there are no easy names for things that are this big and important,’ Mr. Wald said. CNBC used a temporary title, ‘Is Your Money Safe?,’ for special reports from 7 to 9 p.m. in March when Bear Stearns collapsed, and again in September and October when other investment banks folded or revamped. But in mid-November, the network renamed its 7 to 9 p.m. hours ‘CNBC Reports,’ partly because the other title was ‘asking a question no one could really answer,’ Mr. Wald said.

“The titles and logos that news organizations bestow upon major events, unseemly as they sometimes are, can affect public opinion. Already, language has influenced the debate about the economy: the depiction of the government’s $700 billion ‘troubled assets relief program’ as a bailout helped inflame opposition to the proposal. More recently, Democrats have moved to call their stimulus plan an ‘economic recovery program.'”

Read more here.

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