Shrill, hyperbolic, partisan, non-stop, and exhausting: No, I’m not describing our last family reunion, I’m talking about the Media – you know, the never ending barrage of news and opinion that has the potential to make us all a little more crazy than we are normally.
Unfortunately, its not just the national 24hr cable channels that are pushing this new form of “reality TV”. You will see the same tactics now used by sports channels, meteorologists, and yes… financial news sources. So why is it this way? They are all businesses, expected to make a profit. It wasn’t always this way – there was a time when the news was funded by newspaper sales and TV networks predominately as a public service and loss leader to get you to watch the shows that came on after. Now there is no after – just more “news” and more commercials for you to watch. It’s a business and your eyeballs are the goal.
One thing I’ve noticed recently with the financial news networks is a lot of the commercials are from other financial companies who make their money from the volume of trades people make or from firms that will help you navigate the markets when they get scary. Think about that – the companies buying the ads are the ones who benefit most from chaos and volatility. Could it be that the media is benefiting from the chaos instead of just reporting the news? I’ll let you come to your own answer on that.
So, what do we do – turn it off? Or do we just choose to jump on their crazy train and ride it wherever it goes? No, I think there is a middle ground. The method we use is to listen for the basics – the numbers, the economy, company earnings, things that are based in fact. And while we are looking and listening for the data that maters, we always keep in mind that the media is always trying to sell us something. Typically, what they are selling is the narrative that the whole world might stop spinning if turn your head or change the channel for even one minute. Spoiler alert: the world will end – but it will only end one time.
Of course, this “Buyer Beware” process of listening to the news can be applied to all its forms – just keep in mind they are trying to keep you watching – watching them so you will watch the ads. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of spending a big chunk of my life watching commercials.
If the financial news is making it hard for you to plan or sleep, let us help.