It won't have escaped your attention that we are teetering on the brink of another recession. At the very least we are trudging through 'difficult financial times.' So, what does one do when faced with such a stark reality? Well, if you're the Government, you strive to make a series of decisions that will help the Nation claw its way out of this economic brouhaha.
Our puritanical bastion of fiscal value, the Bank of England, tinkers with interest rates and prints money, albeit under its less salacious name of 'Quantitative easing'. Financial institutions tighten their lending rules, businesses cut loose the non-essentials and the rest of us? Well, we all think twice about where we shop and whether we actually need it in the first place. The point is, whether you have faith in the above or not, we are all unified towards the goal of steering the United Kingdom away from another downturn.
All of us, it seems, except the media.
National debt is real, reduction in the levels of manufacturing is real, cuts are real; they all need to be addressed to help us walk the fine line to recovery. But what's not helping is the seemingly endless bludgeoning of fear that some media organisations subject us to every time we pick up a newspaper or switch on a television set. It's no big secret that the press have a penchant for doom and gloom; a single dour headline will always take precedent over positive news. But, when it comes to stories relating to our Nation's economy, there's actually real danger associated with this ominous approach.
Humans want nothing more than to feel good. Scientists at University College London recently found that about 80% of people were optimists, even if they would not label themselves as such. But we have a hard time maintaining this positive mode whilst despair is dangled over our heads. When a reputable news outlet vies for sales or viewers, it needs a hard hitting headline. 'Recession Fears Grip UK' provides that with great aplomb; it's bold, simple and in-your-face.
It's also bloody frightening; if you weren't gripped before, you sure will be now. What is this supposed to achieve? Is it supposed to help? Is it supposed to guide us in to the glistening light of acceptance? Of course not. The only outcome of such a statement is the manifestation of worry and concern. And we instantly react to this speculative, yet potent, media bomb by curbing our spending that the floundering economy so desperately needs. And that, sadly, will do nothing to allay a genuine risk of recession. If anything, headlines like that will only bring it closer.
Of course there are issues, and I'm not suggesting that we're wrapped up in cotton wool and distanced from uncomfortable facts. But it would be helpful if they were actually facts and not provocative hearsay in order to shift a few extra copies or grab a couple of extra viewers. What an incomprehensively selfish price to put on their product at such a fragile time. It may not be 'sexy' news, but there are organisations really flourishing at the moment, doing better than ever and really contributing to the back bone of industry. Cupid, PowerPerfector, GO Outdoors, IQE, Nexus; just five examples from a long list of rising stars. A well-placed reminder of these would give us all a bit of balanced confidence; confidence this country so desperately needs.
We've tasked our Government, banks and businesses to do what they can to resolve this financial situation. I think we should extend this challenge to the media; after all, we allow them in to our homes every day and give them the power to become a persuasive force in what we believe. They shouldn't take advantage of that; media is the only 'real-life' barometer some of us ever get so a balanced agenda means everything to the state of our country's Zeitgeist.
And you never know, one day they might push us so far in to the camp of economic fear that we begin over-scrutinising every penny from every outgoing. And when that happens, £200 a year for a paper sure will sound a lot...
Follow Andrew Telling on Twitter: www.twitter.com/andrew_telling