“Criticism of CNBC is way out of line,” NBC head Jeff Zucker said at the BusinessWeek media summit at McGraw-Hill’s headquarters just now. … The press didn’t cause us to go to war in Iraq, he said; a general did. The press missing the financial crisis didn’t cause it. “Both are absurd,” he said.
What’s absurd is the notion that the press merely observes current events without influencing them, especially when it comes to politics, and especially especially when it comes to economics, both areas where public perception is at least as important as the “facts” on the ground.
With a head up his ass response like that, I’d argue that Zucker shouldn’t have any influence. But unfortunately, he does. And yes, his networks do hold some responsibility for helping President Bush cheerlead us into a war in Iraq and an economic bubble at home. I mean, if his argument is that missing the financial crisis had absolutely no impact on the severity of the crisis itself, does that mean uncovering and predicting the crisis early on would have had no impact too? And if so, what exactly is the point of journalism?