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News Media

Monday, November 14, 2016 5:09
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(Before It's News)

I have seen a lot of my left wing friends encouraging people to read newspapers post election. Some of them have been practically hysterical.  I guess they didn’t read the Wikileaks emails.  Many of them formed their opinions via the stories they were reading. I guess they think the public was misinformed.  I don’t think the public is suffering from a lack of information.  The news media is in bed with the Democrats and everyone knows it.  This is not anything new to people that were not on the left wing.  If you want to read some interesting stats about women you probably won’t see in the mainstream media, read this.

The New York Times and Washington Post have reduced themselves to nothing more than Democratic operatives. If you decide to subscribe to them, and you want to make sure you are seeing both sides of an issue, make sure you subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and perhaps the Washington Times.  To be honest, there is so much information and disinformation these days it’s hard to make sense of anything.

In 2008, my family had an experience with the mainstream news media. That’s when we knew who’s side they were on for sure.  Three days before the election, the Washington Post called me.  I hadn’t given out my cell number to anyone in the media.  They were just making sure a certain story wasn’t going to break that they had tried to push under the carpet.  Ask Stanley Kurtz.  He is a peach of a guy.

I find if I have core principles, and listen and consider an alternative opinion, I am better off.  I make a point of listening to people I know I am probably not going to agree with.  It opens my mind if I listen empathetically.  Otherwise, it makes me more close minded.  It’s hard, but I try to hang on to the “strong opinions loosely held” mantra.

Scott Adams wrote a nice piece on cognitive dissonance. You have to be active in combating it. The College of Cardinals in the Catholic church appointed a “devil’s advocate” to beat cognitive dissonance in their debates.  Who is your devil’s advocate and do you appreciate them?  Or, do you objectify and character assassinate them?  Do you discriminate against them?  In order to listen to the other side, you have to appreciate them.

The best thing might be to 100% ignore the news media. If you are a stock market investor, when is the last time you learned something actionable on television? You are going to learn actionable stuff at Tastytrade, Benzinga, Stocktwits and blogs.  The media is full of fear mongering.  They are not interested in informing anymore, they are interested in clicks.  The internet decimated their business.

As a venture investor, I learn from blogs-not newspapers.  By the time trends hit the papers, they are long away from the startup gate.  Venture investors need to look 10 years ahead an imagine a world that will exist, not the one that does exist.  I am better off reading science fiction than a periodical. Newspapers and magazines are extraordinarily bad at that.  Just read the Barron’s January issue to see how accurate it is.  Heck, pollsters that were armed with supposed “good data” this election cycle missed badly.  The traditional elites are way out of touch and impute way too much confirmation bias into their reporting and forecasting.

That’s why when the protected class from each party endorsed Clinton, it fell on deaf ears.  They are above changes to public policy.  The rest of the country has to live with them.  Newspaper endorsements matter very little these days because of their bias.  Many if not all Clinton supporters still don’t understand what just happened.

Bless her heart, but on 60 Minutes Sunday evening Leslie Stahl didn’t ask one question about economic policy.  The questions were purely on social issues.  Perhaps it’s her unfamiliarity with economics.  It’s easy to ask questions about social issues since we talk about them anywhere.  Economics is tougher-and something you have to prepare for and understand.  The answers aren’t black and white.  The issues become even more cloudy because of all the schools of economics out there.  A Keynesian will rarely agree with a Classical economist.  Everyone knows 60 Minutes is biased.  Here is their interview with then President-elect Obama from 2008; Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.  A bit softer no?

If the time comes, Trump ought to nominate someone like Randy Krozner to head the Federal Reserve.  I’d love to see John Cochrane or John Taylor running economic policy.  It’s been a long time since we had classical economists running the economy.

Dropping corporate taxes will be good for America.  Bringing the 2 trillion in corporate cash back to the US from overseas will be good for banks, states, and business.  If you live in a state that has a good business environment, your state will boom.

Trump has been smart about his use of social media.  You may not like what he says, but you have to appreciate the strategy.  In 1932, FDR used radio because the newspapers were heavily biased against Democrats.  In the early 1800’s, Jefferson and Hamilton started or worked with newspapers that would spread adverse news about the other into the public.  This is evolution and creative destruction.

I will tell you that I think identity politics is also a thing of the past. There is enough data out there to disprove most opinions.  For example, women are paid pretty much the same as men controlling for some factors.   Here is a great discussion from two Chicago Booth professors on it.  America has been in a long economic malaise.  For most of America, the recession never ended.  Pretty hard to worry about identity politics when you can’t put food on the table.  I think most Americans are sick of being hyphenated and divided into “food groups”.  The world doesn’t work that way.  We might disagree, but we have to get along.

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