Is that there’s something different about this recession.
America’s struggling newspaper industry suffered another blow from the financial turmoil as the Los Angeles Times announced on Friday it was cutting hundreds of jobs and downsizing the paper in the fight against "economic realities".
The paper, one of 12 owned by the media giant, The Tribune Company, is shedding 300 positions and will cut the number of daily sections from five to four.
In a memo to staff, the paper’s publisher Eddy Hartenstein said the cuts "are designed to help us deal with the economic realities of the day".
"Not a day goes by that we don’t give our readers the latest news and analysis on the deepening troubles of the US economy," Hartenstein wrote. "The same challenges that face the companies we report about also are affecting us."
But the difference isn’t in the collapse of the banking system or the contraction of globalisation (although those exist) but in the media.
For the media is facing the usual recessionary problems, the fall in advertising and so on. But they are also suffering from the structural change taking place in the industry. Yes, blogs, YouTube, Twitter, digital blah blah blah. And in the reporting of the wider economic problems the two things are getting slightly confused.
No, I’m not saying that the media being gloomy is making everything worse, rather, that some of the gloom in the media isn’t from the general economic problems but is from the structural stresses that they alone face. Everything is thus being painted as being rather darker than it actually is.
Current estimates are that GDP will shrink by 2-3%, peak to trough. This is giving up one single year’s growth (and of course missing out on another years’ such) which isn’t the death knell of capitalism in any manner at all. Given that it’s only capitalism which produces that 2-3% consistent growth over the decades and centuries.
Anyway, that’s my pet theory of the week. That because, for technological reasons, the media is screwed long term, they’re more gloomy than they ought to be about the minor shafting the whole economy is getting.