Picks and Pans Review: Nightly Business Report
PBS (Daily, 6:30 p.m. ET)
These shows look pretty much alike. They give you the latest figures and financial news crammed into a half-hour. And unlike FNN, much of the financial jargon is translated into English so you don't always need an MBA to understand what's going on. These shows talk about the market—whether it's "edgy" or "encouraged"—as if the market were a living beast with brains. And they give you the news of the day, but of course, only as it affects money. Deaths and the declaration of a police state in South Africa may get mentioned, but only because those events influence gold prices. That, unfortunately, can make the business shows look insensitively greedy. Like regular TV news shows, these also have light little features. The CNN morning and evening programs, for instance, recently reported on the growing American appetite for catfish (perhaps to be expected now that yuppies have found Cajun fare). And one episode of the PBS show had a guest commentary by supply-side (read: Reaganomics) economist Arthur Laffer, who laughs at talk of a coming recession: "Don't let those who dwell on negatives get the better of you." Remember: Economists are just betting men with degrees.
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