I went for a walk when I found myself talking about newspapers and real estate. It turns out that real estate makes up the majourity of newspaper advertising revenue BUT the media can also greatly influence market prices. For example, one street that I went down had 4 or 5 houses all on the market. While apparently the media was commenting that the real estate market is on the up.
A friend of mine made the comment that the recession didn't really properly hit New Zealand at all. News of the recession did. What this means is that news of a recession lead to a mass tightening of the belts leading to less flow of money. Basically a recession - but one based upon what the media was reporting.
The media need to have some responsibility. Clare Curren is always talking about how important the media is to the democratic process but I question whether the media is truly relevant in this context.
Why? Because the media has some serious sway. When they're not talking about three legged dogs "shoplifting" (which became WORLD news), or who wins in a fight between an alligator and a lion, the media has a surprising amount of sway. How did you feel about the Maori occupations in the last 20 years or so? Do you really know what the Gulf War was really about (George H. W. Bush in 1990)? etc.
There's also instances of the media trying to pedal their own crap. When this blog first started there were issues around "NZ's Next Top Model" appearing on the news. It's almost unfortunate that I have no recent examples as I no longer watch the news. Likewise, in the newspaper there was the NZ Herald piece of an electrical storm, or rather, how one of their photographers had rushed down to a beach to photograph said storm.
My question though - if the media is so important, and influences global economic situations, real estate pricing and availability and is essential to the democratic process... who oversees it to make sure it's relevant, has some integrity and isn't just some sort of self promotion?