Media Frenzy Makes Recession Worse

Sky isn't falling for many, but barrage 'crackling with panic' makes us feel that way
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2008 12:37 PM CST
"Media messages that are repeating doom and gloom affect every one, not just people who really have trouble and should make changes," one analyst says. "That has a devastating effect on the economy."   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – There’s no doubt the economy is bad. The of flood sky-is-falling news stories make that abundantly clear. But the avalanche of bad news—delivered faster than ever before through myriad, ever-present media outlets—has fed upon itself, sinking all of us into a deeper state of collective panic than in previous downturns, David Carr writes in the New York Times.

The media gets a bit obsessed with the macabre details of every recession, writes Carr. The difference now is that “there have never been so many ways for the fear to leak in.” This hive-mind psychology has real effects: Just look at the many public companies that, despite still being profitable, have defensively laid people off in bouts of panic-driven “right-sizing.”