Delusion and the Media
August 25, 2005
James Howard Kunstler's review of a week of journalism highlighting the vicious pace of self-deception in the recent coverage of the rise in oil costs is right on point:
Delusional thinking about oil was everywhere in the media last week -- as thick as advertising. Early in the week, Yahoo Finance ran a story with a headline (I paraphrase): "DOW Up Fifty Points as Oil Prices Plunge." The plunge they referred to was oil going from $63.90 a barrel to $63.30. Some plunge. This was after five days of oil ratcheting up out of the high $50s. (It ended the week around $65.)
NPR's Marketplace show and a separate wire story piece on the web offered similar headlines (or lead-ins) which said (again I paraphrase) "US Economy No Longer Affected By Oil Prices." Of course, this is exactly the kind of magical thinking you'd expect to see in a public on extended leave from reality, despite the ubiquity of "reality television." The accepted idea is that since America outsourced most of its heavy industry to China and elsewhere, we now have an economy that runs just fine on Tic-tacs and Diet Pepsi, and oil is not in the picture anymore.Read on...