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Video by Bidhata Rai

Journalists' Role in Recession

by Bidhata Rai

Journalists have played a subtle role in forcing people to turn skinflint and pace recession by talking about it well ahead of time.

The statement “Economists warn of a new recession,” was a frequent headline in several newspapers for the last couple of years.

The world was just recovering from the last economic downturn in 2004 when reporters were already forecasting another impending financial crisis. The recession finally took full shape in 2008, almost four years after its continuous prediction by the media.

I don't remember watching news in BBC without Robert Peston, BBC's financial reporter, mentioning recession in his reports.

I talked to Edward Russell Walling, a freelance financial journalist who contributes to The Banker, The Director and the Financial Times, among others. “We’ve finally gone into a recession and the media deserve a share of the credit,” says Walling. Roll over the video to watch the full interview.

"People responded to daily reports by cutting down on spending and money stopped flowing in the market. Recession came quick," adds Walling.

But only a share! It would be naive to say that Wall Street, Main Street and Capitol Hill had no role to play. It would be just as naive to say four years of downbeat economic reporting has had no impact.

Predicting a recession is akin to saying winter will return. It always does. The recession is here and journalists are responsible for it by a notch atleast.

Media plays a big role in a consumer-spending culture. We are bombarded by stories of economic apocalypse. The media has nearly run out of outlandish examples.

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