The media has done it again, says James Altucher, managing director at Formula Capital. They've over-hyped a scary story to sell newspapers, while ignoring a much more important problem. And now that the "crisis" is over, the media will just move on with nary an apology.
What's Altucher crucifying the media for, specifically?
Wall-to-wall coverage of the problems at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, which has transfixed the world since the earthquake and tsunami hit more than a week ago.
The "nuclear crisis," Altucher says, has amounted to an increase in radiation to the level of a prolonged dental x-ray, Altucher says. No one has died. The "meltdown" has been contained. And there was never any threat to the broader world.
But that hasn't stopped the media from scaring the heck out of people all over the world, Altucher says. People in California got so scared that they moved inland. Congress began talking about putting the brakes on nuclear energy. NBC news teams got so freaked out that they evacuated Tokyo (wimpy). And so on.
Meanwhile, the real tragedy--the displacement of more than 100,000 Japanese citizens--was given short shrift.
The media should apologize for that, says Altucher. Just as the media should apologize for over-hyping and then ignoring many of the crises of the past several years--including the Greek debt crisis, which is now worse than ever.
In the media's defense (we're members of the media!), the crisis at Fukushima was pretty scary there for a while. And it wasn't the media that advised US citizens to flee Japan--it was the US Department of State. And the media provided some counter-point to the concerns, too--an MIT researcher's letter explaining why he himself wasn't worried was broadly disseminated around the Internet. And one of the reasons that no writes about Greece's problems anymore is that they're no longer news.
But now that the Fukushima situation appears to be under control, Altucher's demand for an apology will no doubt go over very well. Especially with those who blame the media for... everything.