State of Fear

By: Jack Mason | Sun, Apr 26, 2009
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Network News has shifted gear the past few days. No longer should we worry about Bernanke/Geithner/Obama destroying the last vestiges of capitalism, we should worry about contacting the Mexican Swine Flu.

I don't want to diminish the possibility of it turning pandemic (my grandmother died from the 1918 influenza epidemic), but I do have a great deal of difficulty with both the timing of the news, and the voracity of the news networks in disseminating the news. Also problematic is every "talking head" bureaucrat from here to kingdom come telling us they have everything under control. It's very reminiscent of Bernanke telling us in the early stages of the credit crisis that "everything was under control" and the cost would be $50 million, oops $50 billion, oops ...

This morning's Drudge Report front page is a proxy for the aggressiveness of "Network News."

The timing of the switch from "fear in the financial markets" news to "fear of a pandemic" news is interesting.

Let's go back to the possible Sars pandemic in late 2002. This from Wikipedia:

The first clue of the outbreak appears to be 27 November 2002 when Canada's Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN), an electronic warning system which is part of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Outbreak and Alert Response Network (GOARN), picked up reports of a "flu outbreak" in China through internet media ...

The epidemic reached the public spotlight in February 2003, when an American businessman traveling from China became afflicted with pneumonia-like symptoms while on a flight to Singapore ...

I can only speculate why the media ignored Sars during December 2002 and January 2003, but the following chart shows the stock market bottoming during that time period from the 2000-2002 bear market.

The Mexican Swine Flu news does differ from Sars in that it seems fresh; this time the Networks didn't wait a couple of months before starting their campaign of fear.

But here we go again. With the bear market bottom a couple of months behind us, news about the demise of investments must be boring for the networks so they've switched to another pandemic.

We should all be concerned about the possibility of serious flu, but put the "talking heads" on mute, and do your own research. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lots of factual information.



Jack Mason

Author: Jack Mason

Jack Mason

Jack Mason is a retired investment professional.

Don't take his 'huff' and 'fluff' as investment advice, nor a solicitation to buy or sell anything. Only an investment advisor licensed in your jurisdiction can do that.

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