This was the cover story on the August 13th, 1979 issue of Business Week: “The Death Of Equities”. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was around 800 the day that it ran. What’s happened since? The Dow closed today at 11,134.77. The stock market, flat in the stagflation 1970s took off in the early 1980s, as President Reagan’s tax cuts lit a spark under the moribund American economy, and Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker’s tight fiscal policies squeezed out inflation. Both were the tonic the stock market needed to rebound after a sleepy decade, and low taxes and low inflation continue to benefit markets today.
Business Week was guilty of a trend that journalism all too frequently succumbs to: it takes current conventional wisdom and extrapolates it infinitely into the future. Betsy Newmark has some thoughts on this week’s successor to Business Week’s infamous cover story:
Time Magazine, like Newsweek, continually pushes stories designed to denigrate George W. Bush and his administration. This week’s contribution is Time’s cover story about “The End of Cowboy Diplomacy” and a picture of a cowboy hat. Cute, but so silly. As John Podhoretz points out, the media concocted a caricature of Bush’s policies and now wrings a cover story out of pronouncing the death of that caricature. Time seems to have just noticed that Bush is pursuing a multilateral policy in North Korea. Hello? That’s been his policy from the get go. That is what North Korea has objected to and the Clintonites have been criticizing Bush for in the past five years. They think that we should forget about China’s leverage and meet one-on-one with North Korea so that we can give them some more bribes to pretend to not be developing their missiles and nuclear capabilities. As Podhoretz points out, “Or maybe, just maybe, the North Korea problem indicates that presidents are sometimes faced with lousy options all around.” And, it was Clinton’s former defense secretary, William Perry, who just wrote an editorial suggesting a preemptive strike against North Korea’s missile. This was a suggestion that the Bush administration immediately rejected. Who was the cowboy then?
“The media concocted a caricature…and now wrings a cover story out of pronouncing the death of that caricature”.
Now that’s one trend I’d love to see the death of. But I’m not holding my breath–or going on a smoothie-fueled hunger strike–waiting for the legacy media to change.