Is media scaremongering exacerbating the economic situation?
It seems that all people talk about these days is the recession. Why is this? Does ordinary Joe Bloggs really notice interest rates and global economic situations? Those who were previously oblivious to banking systems when things were going well, now seem like experts in the “economic down turn”. Can this really be all due to the financial climate, or is the media making the situation worse?
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‘Recession’ is a label to scare people, life is meant to be difficult.
The media keep referring to recession and depression and the self fulfilling prophecy is setting in. People do become depressed, but why? Nothing has changed, we need to look after our family as best we can, that is all we can do. The media, by re-arousing and reiterating the numbers behind the scenes, is bringing unnecessary bad news to the fore front. People should not concentrate on abstract percentages and start concentrating on their lives. This is the only way to make it through the hard times.
Burying our heads in the sand and pretending that this recession is nothing more than a media exploit will not help. We have to admit what is before our very eyes. There is a recession upon us, as of 19th March there are officially 2 million unemployed, our highest in 12 years (1). The rate of businesses going under is expected to increase for the next four or five years (2). We cannot find the solutions to these problems until we recognise they exist. The media, in reinforcing what is actually happening, is forcing us to face the problem and therefore pushing us to find a solution.
Constant reference to recession means employers and banks act defensively, cut staff and wages
By bringing bad news to the foreground, and anticipating bad times to come, employers anticipate the same. Employers, when they anticipate poor sales, they cut expenditure. A company’s main expenditure is staff. The logical conclusion here is that staff lose jobs. This sets of a dominoes effect. Due to the competitive nature of the retail market, other company’s try to minimise prices to attract consumers and so they also make staff redundant. In turn, yet more company’s take this defensive line of action and follow this mode of conduct.
Defensive practices or merely sensible? We need to acknowledge the recession, and then we need to act upon it. These employers are doing just that. They see that business are falling all around them, so they make a few redundancies so they can avoid a similar fate. This is how effective businesses operate. We should be grateful that they are making redundancies rather than closing down the company altogether.
Constant reference to the recession causes consumers to stop spending their money, but public spending is what we need!
When the media constantly reassert that the economic climate is in a bad way, that people are losing their jobs and that people are having their houses repossessed, people fear they will go through the same experience. They anticipate being made redundant and so start to save their money. But untouched money is no use to the economic market. People need to spend all their spare money so that employers hire more people, so there is more dispensable income for more people to spend, for more jobs to be created. The media is scaring people and so stopping this cycle from taking place.
If the media were to blame for the current Economic situation, intelligent people i.e. Market analysts and Government bodies were predicting this recession before the media brought any of this news.
However I do agree that the media may be blamed for the potential prolonging of the recession they weren't the ones who brought this recession on, it was the bad lending by the banks and the toxic debt these actions have incurred, as well as the irresponsible borrowings we have taken on ourselves.
Ordinary Joe Bloggs knows when the exchange rate for the Euro means they cannot go on holiday.
Many people are staying in Britain for their holidays this year as they simply cannot afford to go on holiday elsewhere. The cheapest flights are to Europe as Europe is closer than other countries. Most countries in Europe now have the Euro. The Euro is now worth just under a sterling pound (1), yet the prices remain higher in Euros. England would now be a cheap holiday for Europeans, but Europe is now expensive for Brits. When British people cannot go on holiday, they do not need to media to tell them that the economic time is in a depraved situation.
The movement of French and Irish residents to the UK buying our goods improves our economy. That is a contributory factor as to why sales have for the large part stayed bouyant.
Media does contribute to the reason less British nationals are choosing not to holiday in the Eurozone. Whether this is the main reason is rocky however a large proportion of people tend to get the information like this from the media itself.
To further this point, holidaying in Europe has never been cheaper. When have you ever been able to fly to Spain or Portugal and stay 7 nights all inclusive for less than £200pp? Try and beat that, staying in the UK! It's not all about exchange rates. The argument that holidaying in Europe is expensive for Brits is moot.
Media, scaring people, but they are selling newspapers and gaining viewers which means advertising space is more valuable and jobs can be created this way.
The media is always known to exaggerate any given news item. They need to do so in order to keep people interested in the service they are providing. The more buyers of a newspaper, the more jobs they can afford to keep, the more viewers to a TV station, the more that station can charge for their advertising space, and the more jobs they can give. Perhaps the scaremongering is far from detrimental, but helpful to get us out of this economic downturn.
This is a gloss on what is actually occurring. People who are buying newspapers are people who have always bought newspapers. Even some of those customers have resorted to reading the newspapers in their free online format. Newspaper groups are facing loses too, they are not a surviving industry. As for advertisements, there are very few firms which have the spare cash to buy ads!! They are either facing liquidation or making redundancies. ITV recently made around 600 redundancies and one of the reasons cited was that there have been "declining sales in advertising"(1).
Ordinary Joe Bloggs know when they lose their jobs
The media cannot be blamed for the economic situation. The media is only describing current affairs. If the media were banned from talking about the recession, people would still feel the impact of the recession. When Mr. Bloggs and all his friends lose their jobs, they will know that something is not right. Mr. Joe Bloggs will equally feel the pinch of the recession when he cannot provide for his family and cannot get a new job, or a loan. The effects of the recession are through people’s reactions to their economic situation, not merely what the media is producing.
Mr. Bloggs may lose his job, regardless of the media's representation of the economic recession, however Mr. Bloggs might have a cousin who isn't losing his job, but stresses about it for months on end, drops in productivity and ends up losing it anyhow.
When the media report about the recession, this causes most people to tighten their belts, even if they don't need to, which leads to less spending. Less spending puts businesses under pressure which leads to layoffs. This leads to further negative media reporting and, in turn, more layoffs.
In addition to this, those who are laid off have less money to contribute to the economy, which exasperates this problem.
The media has a responsibility to report in a balanced manner, not constantly selling fear but to also appreciate the impact of their reporting.
What do you think?