Is the news media to blame for making economic crisis worse? According to new poll results released by the Opinion Research Corporation today, they are.
An overwhelming 77 percent of Americans believe that the US media is making the economic situation worse by projecting fear into people’s minds. The majority of those surveyed feel that the financial press, by focusing on and embellishing negative news, is damaging consumer confidence and damping investment, making a difficult situation much worse.
Richard L. Scheff, a national expert on corporate liability and white-collar crime issues, warns media that they could potentially be exposed to liability despite apparent constitutional protections:
“Although statements by the media are protected by the First Amendment, the survey results demonstrate that the public believes that the press bears some responsibility for the lack of confidence in the economy. One would hope that these media would act less out of self-interest in these times of national crisis. I could see creative lawyers attempting to pierce constitutional protections by constructing theories of liability for losses they may allege were driven by irresponsible news releases,” said Mr. Scheff, vice chairman and partner with Philadelphia-based law firm Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads.
The US survey of 1000 adults was conducted by ORC, on behalf of Park Lane Communications, and is statistically representative of the total U.S. population. The survey question asked was: “Do you think the financial press is making the economic crisis worse by projecting fear into people’s minds?” While the overall response indicated that 77% of Americans answered YES, here are some highlights of note:
$25k – $35k – 79% answered YES
$35k – $50k – 88% answered YES
$50k – $75k – 76% answered YES
$75k – more – 78% answered YES
85% of young adults (18-24 yrs old) answered YES
77% of males and females alike answered YES
65% of blacks answered YES