With the economy in free-fall since last September, most Americans’ focus has been on this issue to the exclusion of everything else. As such, wouldn’t it be prudent for the media outlets in America to provide analysis of the problem and different solutions by … economists? Note that I don’t have a a lot of respect for economists these days in general. For one, their forecasts aren’t held to the same standards as weather forecasts when validating them. When was the last time someone else at the water cooler took their local economist to task for missing their unemployment forecast by hundreds of thousands of people or retail sales by hundreds of millions of dollars? You haven’t because economists aren’t held accountable to the public. But beyond that rant, the American people might benefit from having different economic views presented to them.
Why then have economists been on the weekend political talk shows and cable shows only 5% of the time the economy was being discussed in recent weeks? Because the corporate media played a hand in wrecking the economy, along with the Cons they serve so well. They have no interest in presenting qualified information to their viewers. The corporate media distributes entertainment, not news.
My ire at this situation is non-partisan. I hold Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow in much higher regard than I do Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly. Yet even KO and Maddow only had a single economist on their shows in two weeks’ time. That is unacceptable. Talking heads and pundits are shown to the public. Just as in the physical sciences, economists need to engage the public more often. Our public discourse would benefit from it. Our pressure to develop intelligent policies would also then benefit from it.