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How TV business news makes people stupid

Nouriel Roubini and Nassim Taleb, two very smart people, are interviewed by a panel of daft yet bossy CNBC hosts interested in stock picks and "single metrics" to tell us when we will come out of the recession.

 As a reader of the Financial Times--my only regular newspaper--I am spoiled for quality in financial reporting. When I pick up the business pages in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, or even the New York Times, I'm always amazed at how poorly, and how late, the reporters and analysts have understood the important business stories of the day. But regular viewers of CNBC must truly be stupid to consume this offal; if they weren't already, CNBC made them that way.

 Beginning in the dot com boom, CNBC's breathless financial sportscasting did more than its share to foster widespread greed, gambling, and uncritical, short-sighted trend-based investing: all part of the culture that helped create this crisis.  I assume that CNBC's business success depends to a large degree on day traders and retail investors who won't watch if the news is of unrelenting gloom. There needs to be hope that CNBC is helping them, and its millions of other viewers, get on an inside track to successful investments. That's why, as the real financial press is enjoying a renaissance of importance during this deepening crisis, CNBC is becoming ever more irrelevant. 

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