If you log onto any media, blog or social networking site you find it completely dominated by two things: Presidential politics and the economy. Now the further is engrossed in the economy so it boils down to one idea, everyone is talking, thinking and worried about the economy.

What’s changed is how the media is covering the issue. Traditionally the media picks the topic, brings in an expert, brings in someone to counter the expert and goes from there. While the media claims to be unbiased, there is agenda setting going on and there is a slight biased one way or another. The interesting thing is how that is changing with what cnn.com calls “ireporters.” Anyone can post a story or chime in with their opinion or expertise. Now there will be differing opinions but the reader/viewer can watch what they want to whether it only supports one view or not. Additionally more opinions can be shared.

Think about it, the media only has so much time to hear so many experts, but there are more then two or three opinions on every issue. Ireporters can share hundreds of views to the world, compared to just their very annoyed friends who don’t care about politics. (or my very annoyed friends)

As this is being written Cnn.com has 6 of its 20 top issues devoted to talking about the economy. 6 more of those talk about the presidential campaign and this is after the bailout bill passed, there were more articles up about the economy before it passed.  Over half of cnn.coms top stories are about either the campaign (which is all about the economy) or the economy its self (which is all about politics).

The presidential campaigns have turned into the campaigns for who knows more about the economy. You want proof you say? Ok example number one, the VP debate Thursday night, which was supposed to focus on foreign policy turned into a debate over the economy and who’s presidential candidate was more bipartisan and helpful for the passing of the bill. Don’t get me wrong, foreign policy was discussed is just was on the back burner.

The presidential candidates are surely addressing the pubic about the economy and new media is helping to get their attention. But a new question should be asked. Is new media also at fault for causing some of the economic problems? The housing and mortgage crisis were created by Congress  and regardless of new media were going to happen. But the stock market didn’t drop 777 points because of congress, it  dropped because the public panicked and caused more problems instead of staying calm. If the internet floods with information screaming the end of the world, then everyone gets ready for the end of the world.

But if the media would have stayed calm and the internet posted “everything will be fine,” “Economy will recover soon” there would have been no drop in the DOW of that nature. Want some evidence, look at how much it rebounded when the media posted “plan passes senate” or “Presidential Candidates confident of recovery.” Just the mention of the plan being recovered bounced the DOW back up 435 points on opening.

The media not only has played a huge role in the coverage of the economy, the agenda setting of the economy for the public and candidates but it has played a huge role in controlling the economy. Every new and old media source is covering the economy. You can read endless blog posts, news articles, watch youtube. Videos and join as many facebook groups that you want dealing with it. You can support the a plan, oppose it, be informed, be misinformed. The options are endless, this is the gift of new media to the public.

–posted by Henry Kepps

Originally posted October 5, 2009 at PolicyByBlog

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