In Episode 40 I shared with you Who I Am and that you can’t believe everything you read (or see on TV). The media does’t make money unless they sell advertising. What do they need for advertisers to pay them money? They need eyeballs.
The more readers, the more money collected in advertising
Why do you think a SuperBowl commercial can cost billions to air when it’s only 15-30 seconds long? The eyeballs. The largest watched TV event each year is the SuperBowl so advertisers know they can get their product in front of millions and millions of eyeballs.
How a paper or news source gets our attention
So how does a newspaper or news source get our eyeballs? Headlines! Fantastic, extreme, bold headline titles. “If it bleeds, it leads”, the more miserable the scarier, and the more our eyeballs keep reading so we don’t miss something “important”. I don’t read the paper very often and I certainly don’t tune into the nightly news. The majority of it is bad news. Even the weather reports have an air of urgency whenever there is a rain cloud forming over Iowa that “could produce some heavy rains on Wednesday”. You wouldn’t hire a stock broker whose predictions were as “iffy” as Meteorologist Jim Blow.
When I do read
When I do read something I have to approach it with critical thinking, with an eye for the “creative writing” in the sentences. Today was one such day. Here’s what I read: Recession Attitudes but Christmas Cheer Spending by Steve Liesman, CNBC.com
My thoughts: 53% believe it’s a bad time to invest in the market
This statement sounds scary, doesn’t it? If this is true and the “Buy Low, Sell High” theory of investing still applies then 53% believe stocks are up, overvalued, or that things are going to get really bad, even worse than they have been, in the next 5+ years. So these folks should be saving cash for when they are ready to get into the market.
That may mean the other 47% believe it is a good time to invest, that stocks are undervalued or are convinced their investments will be more valuable when they actually pull the money out (in the next 5-45 years). I’d keep investing, and that’s what we are doing.
This statement sounded rather scary when I first read it. Don’t let it deter you from your money plan. Whether the market is good or bad, saving and investing is always a good idea.
…a more reasonable level of inflation next year?
Jay Campbell stated “Americans are weary from years of bad economic news and are skeptical that things will improve any time soon. Perhaps because they are looking to create a bright spot, and coupled with expectations for a more reasonable level of inflation next year, consumers across the spectrum have decided to make this a merrier holiday.”
Seriously? Most Americans do not take into consideration next year’s lowered increase of inflation when doing their Christmas budget this year. But most Americans don’t do a Christmas budget, so inflation or no inflation, people will spend more money if they want to. A cheery outlook indeed.
Those expecting wages to rise plan to boost their spending 56%
WOW! This one got my eyeballs. I had to go back and read it again. Did my printer make an error? Nope, that’s what it says. Is this seriously what respondents to the survey said? If so, here is a comparison between this year’s expected spending and what next year would look like if we did spend 56% more on Christmas in 2012:
Americans who believe their home prices will increase plan the highest holiday spending
In a sign of how critical home prices are to the outlook, Americans who believe their home prices will increase in the next 12 months plan the highest holiday spending of any group.
He’s got my attention again. Is this saying that those who think home values will go up will allow them to spend more? What does the value of ones home have to do with spending? But it’s right there in black and white.
Regardless of what you read
Our behaviors are effected by what we learn. What we learn we get from people we talk to, things that we read, and experiences we have. If we are looking at, reading, or watching those things that the people who want our attention are producing then we have to look at it with a critical eye. It’s not a conspiracy theory, you just have to know that the goal of the media is to get our eyeballs.
Also in this episode: Holla From The Impala: Top 5 Questions I have about Christmas