Can Media Lies Prevent An Economic Downturn?
In reality, the economy was not doing great, and the media was hardly slandering it. It was if anything depicting it in a too positive way by consistently underestimating or failing to recognize the problems. But more important, while the media depiction of the economy is not unimportant, it can't prevent problems from happening simply by lying and pretending the underlying causes of the inevitable problems don't exist.
This theory is now being tested in Russia. The Russian economy has been hit hard by the dramatic decline in the price of oil, its by far most important exports. The rouble has therefore fallen significantly and the stock market is down 75%. Yet as the universally state-controlled medias have banned the use of words like "crisis" and "decline" with regard to the Russian economy, it continues to say that the Russian economy remains strong-and no dissenting opinion is allowed. That alleged strength is of course universally credited to Vladimir Putin's leadership.
We will now see in Russia whether or not the media can really prevent an economic downturn simply by not reporting bad news and pretending that everything is going great. Since first of all many Russians can access foreign news sources and since secondly and far more importantly, economic downturns are not caused by psychology, I don't think it will succeed.