Saturday, 3 July 2010

What they are not telling you

There is so much going on in the world, and the well-trained journalist knows that within each event lies a thousand stories, and within those a million different articles. No-one is able to tell all those tales. As such, journalism is a flawed occupation; destined always to fail. But the mistakes are interesting, and only by understanding them can understand their impact.

Financial journalism is certainly one flawed part of this error-strewn business. Indeed, because of the importance of finance and money in our world, the failures of financial journalists have a particularly large impact, not just on their readers - misled about how to manage their finances and hence much of their lives - but also upon opinion-formers and policymakers, who introduce bad laws based on poor information.

Moreover, even professionals in the world of finance, who really should know better, can find themselves herded into decisions by journalists and newspapers who in the search for the big story often generate a climate of crisis out of nothing, or sometimes just blunder on through mistakes and misunderstandings.

This is why I instinctively reject conspiracies. Nothing in the world that I have seen has ever been as perfect, as neat, as the stories told by conspiracy theorists. The things they are not telling you are usually secret not because there is some massive conspiracy generated by an all-powerful elite. No, what they are not telling you are the things they don’t know, or don’t think you need to know, or they can’t be bothered to tell you about.

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