Losing Your Job? Blame Me.

Published on January 2, 2009
by Peter Kafka

There are plenty of reasons why the economy is in the tank, and sorting them out can be trickier than it looks. Or, in time-honored tradition, you can just blame the messenger. MediaPost:

The vast majority of Americans believe the U.S. media industry’s coverage of the faltering economy is actually contributing to the economic crisis by ‘projecting fear into people’s minds.’ That’s the finding of a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults released Thursday by Opinion Research Corporation. The survey, which was conducted last month via telephone, found that 77% of respondents believe fear mongering by U.S. media outlets is negatively impacting consumer confidence in the economy.

…The majority of those surveyed by ORC singled out the financial press as a primary culprit influencing consumer sentiment about economic conditions. ‘By focusing on and embellishing negative news, [the financial press] is damaging consumer confidence and damping investment, making a difficult situation much worse,’ the ORC study concluded.”

As I said, tiding-bearers often get blamed for the content of the message, so this isn’t a new phenomenon.┬áThe one thing that might be different here is that the media business itself is getting decimated, which inevitably reflects on the tenor of coverage.

When I’m writing about layoffs in the magazine industry, for instance, I’m often writing about friends who have lost jobs or think they will soon. So I may be a little bit guilty as charged.

Then again, it’s possible that the folks at Opinion Research Corporation just have a knack for finding peeved people to answer the telephone and answer their “Ouch Point” (really) surveys. Check out the titles of other studies the company has put out in the last year:

  • 11/26/08: Shoppers Scaling Back On Holiday Spending This Season, Latest Ouch Point Survey From Opinion Research Corporation Finds.
  • 5/7/08: Latest Ouch Point Study Reveals Shopper Frustrations With Store Layouts.
  • 4/14/08: Latest Ouch Point study reveals customer frustrations with online shopping.

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