Main Stream Media vs The Blogosphere – What’s the Economy Really Doing?

Today – straight from the SHTFblog newsroom:

For the last few years I’ve watched the main stream media, and by that I mean large news sites like CNN and MSNBC, try and tell everybody that everything is fine, the economy is improving, they expect housing to go up any minute, etc etc.  They bring in talking heads who talk about how everything is getting better and they expect a couple of percentage points of economic growth next month.  Then the report comes out and there’s been some growth!  Excellent!  Then a few weeks later, maybe mentioned in a blurb in the business section, there’ll be some little tidbit about how last months CPI was downgraded a few percentage points and the real growth either didn’t happen or was less than what they reported earlier.

By now I’ve developed a healthy does of skepticism around what they’re reporting.  In some areas I think they do a top notch job such as the coverage of “The Disaster in Japan.”  They’re making an effort to cover many of the different aspects of the disaster, but the media is looking for ratings and that means when this story stops being sexy they’ll move on to the latest and greatest disaster.  Look at Haiti, it’s barely mentioned in the news any more, but it sure hasn’t gotten any better for those folks down there.  Do you hear about it on MSNBC Nightly News?  I haven’t heard a word about Haiti since the cholera outbreak.

In order to balance reading the mainstream news I then go and read things by Peter Schiff, Chris Martenson, Gerald Celente and other doomers and gloomers, lest I start to believe that thing are actually starting to improve in the economy.

With all of this conflicting information out there in the world who do we believe?  Who is right?  Is the world economy going to come crashing down next week or will we have 1.6% growth next quarter?

Here’s what I’ve noticed in the last few years.

Very few people in the mainstream media (that received any air time) predicted the economic collapse a few years ago.  Peter Schiff seemed to have pegged it pretty well though.  If you’re a follower of Mr. Schiff you’ll know that he’s not a big fan of Keynesian economics and regularly takes pot shots at Ben Bernanke, President Obama and anybody else in the government who gets his attention.

Chris Martenson has the Crash Course and if you’ve taken the time to watch it you’ll see that’s it an extremely well thought-out series of how our economy can’t sustain itself.  He quit a job as a high paid executive and now lives in a small community in Connecticut.  Here’s the latest straight from his web site:

Important note: It is with a heavy heart that I am now issuing the highest level alert to date. The threshold for an alert is one or more world events that personally cause me to take action. The substance of this alert centers on the unknown aftershocks that may result from the world’s third largest economy, Japan, rapidly shifting from an exporter of funding to a consumer of it.

This alert warns you that major world-changing events are now underway and that your personal preparations for an uncertain future should either be completed or take on a new sense of urgency. On the basis of the information contained here and in the past two days of posts, I am personally ratcheting up my preparations, making purchases, and topping off what needs to be topped off.

I have not been this concerned since October of 2008.

What I like about Chris is that he walks the talk.  He’s a believer.

But what to believe?  This is the tough part, so let’s go over some facts that I dug out of the news sites:

  1. The US is so far in debt that there’s no realistic way we’ll ever be able to pay it all back.
  2. Many states are hard pressed to pay their bills right now.
  3. Unemployment is at an official high of 9%, but in all actuality is much higher although it’s hard to say just how high.
  4. The Baby Boomers are coming to retirement age just as Medicare and Medicaid are becoming unaffordable.
  5. Japan’s crisis may affect us at an economic level, but at this point nobody’s sure how hard.
  6. New housing starts are down 22% as of today (March 16, 2011)
  7. High gas prices might cause the economic recovery to slow down.
  8. Food and gas prices are causing inflation to jump – more about inflation here.
  9. Unrest in the middle east is driving gas prices up.
  10. Healthcare costs are spiraling out of control, the US is fighting wars on multiple fronts that we can ill afford, and the government is printing new money, which will debase our currency.

I found these ten things in the mainstream news today.  None of it looks very good.

Then we have the economic Debbie Downers.  Chris Martenson, Gerald Celente, Peter Schiff, James Kuntsler and lots more.  These are intelligent people who take the available data and look at it differently and draw different conclusions from it.   For the most part they talk about economic collapse, peak oil, environmental issues and things of this nature.  And make a pretty good case for it too, I might add.  After reading these guys I’m ready to hunker down with my family and my AR-15 and wait for financial Armageddon and the collapse of civilization.

Now comes the tough part.  Who and what to believe?  On the one hand we’ve got the government and mainstream news feeds telling us everything is fine.  On the other hand we’ve got Schiff and Celente predicting the end of the world, or at the least a big financial crash.

Well, one thing I’ve noticed is that every time someone calls for the end of the world they wind up scratching their heads and looking foolish when the date goes by and nothing happens.  But then there’s Peter Schiff who called the housing bubble.  Now you begin to see how I go back and forth on this whole thing.

Here’s what I do.  First, I read everything with a healthy dose of skepticism.  Then I take a the highs of the media and lows of the blogs and mentally graph them.  Then I run a mental statistical line down the middle and that’s where I think things truly are.

Right now I’ve got to say that things are looking pretty grim; however, I caution you not to run for the hills just yet.  If you have your preps in place you’re far ahead of most of the population.  Don’t panic.  Be ready.  Be vigilant.  Be smart.  Do your research.  No one can truly predict the future and we don’t know what events might come along to help or deter us in our current financial predicament.

What do you believe?

-Jarhead Survivor