In my local paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, three of the September 9, 2008 stories wrote about our surreptitiously collapsing economy. General Motors was asking for billions of dollars, the largest mortgage holder in the country was being bailed out, and a short blurb in the business section mentioned a financial expert who wrote a book about impending financial doom.
I'd like to help the newspapers out when we're all out of work (journalists are first) and there won't be anyone to write the following story, so Mr. Tierney (the new and very promising Inquirer publisher) will have the copy ready when he's running the presses all by himself:
"Dateline, Washington, D.C., February 2009: Why Didn't Experts See It Coming?
Now that collapse of the US auto industry, the mortgage banks, the job market, and the retail banking system have finally pulled the legs out from under Wall Street as well, everyone is finally (!) asking how did we miss the warning signs? Well, "we" didn't, just the experts and the press who we count on to call them out. For the last eight years, every decision and indecision has directly caused it. Regulation has been relegated to impotence; short-term values have trumped long-term at every Oval Office choice; borrowing has become infantile obsession; and intelligence—military, scientific, and common sense—has been ridiculed off the front page and dinner tables. Anyone with their eyes open realized that from Keating Five to Enron to trillion-dollar-Iraq to subprime to GM to Fannie/Freddie, we've been solving every problem by printing money in one way or another. The warning signs were loud and clear, and we got what we bargained for... superficial, lip-serving leadership that constantly told the people what they wanted to hear until there was nothing of substance left."
We're not dumb and the press has been cowed into covering it as margin copy.