Welcome to the end of the week and another edition of Happy Hour! Just sit back, relax, and enjoy your end of the week roundup of all things interesting in the land of money.
Time To Rethink Business News?
There’s a fine line between making the news and reporting it. The role business news plays or should play gets questioned often. Who does it cater to, really?
I stopped watching business news channels a couple of years ago. Outside of a rare clip from the CNBC or Bloomberg website, its nonexistent. Today, the bulk of the news is brought to me either through twitter or a select few sites and writers I read regularly. That combination has helped me filter out the fluff, so I stay focused on what’s important. Though, I do stray at times when the fluff sells well.
Business news is a popularity contest. Much like high schoolers, the market is a fickle beast and the business news channels cater to the gossip mill. Whether viewers realize it or not, it’s become a 24/7 infomercial for popular or unpopular stocks. Fund managers use it as an opportunity to advertise their positions. A stock of the month club (or week) if you will. In the case of Apple, stock of the year. The bigger the name, the more press it gets.
Worse, it’s devolved into a constant debate, pitting two people on opposite sides of an argument, data point, stock, Fed decision, whatever. As long as they can find two opposing views on something, it’ll be on TV. And if they can’t, they tell the guests to only argue one side. It’s reality TV or a watered down cage match. For most of us, 99% at least, these silly debates are nothing more than poor entertainment.
In any given day, the real news, the stuff that really matters, is rare. In other words, there isn’t enough real news to move the needle on my long-term views. In fact, it distracts from them. It pulls you into short-term thinking, from years and decades to seconds and minutes. I don’t make investment decisions minute to minute, nor hourly, or even weekly. In fact, the last change I made to my portfolio was seven months ago. Maybe, I’ll make one or two this year.
To me, the business news is like a game of football. It’s three hours long (sixty minutes of play). But when the final buzzer sounds, there is only eleven minutes of action. The rest is entertaining filler.
But I get it. They’re in the business to make money. Eyeballs decide that outcome. Sometimes a bit a drama is needed to draw a crowd. Just, image if they catered to the majority of investors, focusing only on the long-term view. There’d be a lot of dead air.