Monday, September 22, 2008

Irresponsible Journalism

I frequent the CNN Money website because I find it to be an interesting combination of financial news and editorials for the person with an interest in finance and the financial markets, but without a masters degree in the subject. This website has been particularly useful to me of late because of the rapid and scary changes in the financial world, from the major fluctuation in oil prices and the stock market to the downfall of investment banks to the conversion of investment banks to commercial banks. Today I read a headline, gasped, and clicked on the link because the implications of the headline were too awful to bear - "Here Comes $500 Oil"

The very first sentence in the tag line of the article actually states "If Matt Simmons is right, the recent drop in crude oil prices is an illusion." The article goes on to discuss Mr. Simmons' (and others) theory that we are at or fast approach the point of peak oil production and this will result in a significant, sustained supply/demand mismatch - resulting in skyrocketing oil prices. This is not a new concept or argument, but CNN decided that today was the right day to add front page credence to this theory. For a reputable news source such as CNN, declaring in a headline that the price of oil is an impending quintuple of the current price is a flagrant and irresponsible act of journalism. I understand that the job of a headline is to gain my attention, and this one certainly serves that purpose, but at the same time with the weak psychological state of the worldwide consumer and the fact that financial markets are driven by reactions by groups of individuals and their decisions, CNN should act more responsibly. I know that one article on one website will typically have no effect on the financial markets, but this story proves otherwise. <--Seriously, read this story. Headline: CNN Declared Dangerously Irresponsible
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Story: Some idiot blogger somewhere said today that he was angry with CNN Money for being irresponsible. However, as the phrase "idiot blogger" implies, this guy is an idiot and we have no reason to take his point of view seriously.
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If you only read the headline without actually going to the story, someone might actually take me seriously. CNN and other news sources should be held to a higher standard.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

You know what's crazy to me? The little t-shirt icon next to CNN articles now. When you go to the CNN homepage, there are some headlines that that have small t-shirts next to them, meaning that you can buy a t-shirt from CNN with that headline printed on the front. The weirdest part is not that CNN is making a mockery of its own headlines - the weirdest part is that some executive at CNN determined that there is a contingent that wants t-shirts with catchy slogans like "Obese fined $25/mo. more for insurance" or "Bees overwhelm three homes."