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Jodi Beggs

Economists on Television...or a Lack Thereof?

By December 16, 2012

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The subject of economics encompasses a variety of topics that are extremely relevant to government policy as well as business and consumer behavior, so it's not surprising that economics-related topics are featured pretty often in the media. (Fiscal cliff, anyone?) One would expect, then, for economists to appear pretty frequently to shed light on the topics that they are experts on. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

According to Media Matters:

Of the 503 guest appearances during segments identified as primarily about budget negotiations, only 22 -- about 4.4 percent -- were made by economists. The lack of economist representation was similar across networks. Economists accounted for 6.3 percent of guest appearances on CNN, 3.1 percent on Fox News, and 7.3 percent on MSNBC. No economists appeared on ABC, CBS, and NBC during the period analyzed.

You can click on the linked article for more interesting statistics on the content of economics and policy segments.

Why is this important? Two (related) reasons. First, it explains why the television discourse on economic-related issues is less, well, in depth or coherent than it should be. Second, it's a good reminder to not take what you see on television as representative of the general consensus among economists.

Comments

December 16, 2012 at 9:35 am
(1) rjs says:

the business channels often interview economists…and RT features economists all the time; here’s Stephanie Kelton on Capital Account with Lauren Lyster on December 11. The topic was MMTís goals for Full Employment and the governmentís deficit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Yiw8Lyw1XGc

December 18, 2012 at 5:08 am
(2) David Chester says:

The TV stations could do better by also teaching some basic macroeconomics, for example about the circularion of money within the whole social system, as illustrated here on Jody’s website.

The apparent or actual unawareness by politicians of what macroeconomics is really all about is one of the factors tending to cause our faltering national economy to resist its recovery.

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