Financial journalism on TV

Lauren Lyster

The end of TVNZ7 is a blow not only to critical political discourse  in New Zealand but deprives this country of a great opportunity to produce and broadcast a lively but in-depth and accessible economics show like Capital Account on RT.com (although host Lauren Lyster is distractingly attractive). Sorry TV1 and TV3 – your business reporting on your morning shows is pathetic, more akin to financial PR than serious analysis. The government and financial sector might like it that way but you are doing the rest of us a gross disservice.

Why is financial reporting so woefully shallow in the mainstream media, particularly in New Zealand. Maybe we feel smugly isolated and immune to its ongoing effects because we along with Australia only got sideswiped by the financial storm. Maybe we don’t really want to think about it because it’s too hard or boring and we’re happy to defer to the “experts” (the same experts who got everyone into the mess). Whatever that lack of understanding is and will be to our detriment because at the very least it gives the government of the day and “official” sources from Treasury and the financial industry a virtual monopoly on economic discourse. There is virtually no dissenting opinion on TV apart from the obligatory 30 second comment from the opposition finance spokesperson, which considering how close Labour and National are to each other, is just a facade. The Green Party has a different philosophy but moderates it for public consumption as part of its new mainstreaming drive, desperate to avoid the “radical” or facile “hippy” labels. The current rage is everyone trying to out do outdo each other with fiscal responsibility, to be seen as a safe pair of hands. Don’t upset the gods of the financial markets, they will rain thunderbolts down upon you.

When for instance was the concept of steady state raised in the MSM in this country? Is it really so radical and out there that it’s not even worth debating? Where are the challengers to the unrestricted neoclassical growth model that both Labour and National follow, their only argument over how best to achieve it. Where are the discussions around alternative tax regimes, redistribution models, banking and credit reform and alternatives to GDP?

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