My job as a publisher is to deliver valuable, accurate information. I take this responsibility seriously. I wish more people in the broader media universe would do the same.
Most of the “news” you get from the mainstream media is really entertainment in disguise. Earlier this week I listed a whole series of major problems on the horizon. How many TV news stories have you seen about them? Not many!
Of course, you’re different. Uncommon Wisdom readers are curious and stay informed. You seek out the information others miss. Most people aren’t like you. They only see the surface.
What do they see? The media blasts them with lurid stories that don’t really matter — and skip right over information the public needs to know.
This week my colleague James DiGeorgia noticed an especially terrifying news item. You definitely need to know what he saw.
The U.S. Senate “nuclear option” story was just drama. Another “nuclear option” is ominously real.
People across the political spectrum agree the mainstream news is biased. They are correct — but not in the way you may think.
If you pick a random story from any major news service, the facts are usually accurate. Somebody got arrested, a fire burned down a building, a congressman lied. They don’t typically make things up. Reporters learn in journalism school to verify the facts. Most of the time, they do a good job.
Bias creeps in at the editorial level. They look at the events of a particular day and can’t cover everything. They have to decide what stories are most important. Then they ignore everything else.
How do they decide which news is “important"?
Far too often, they pick whatever subjects they think will attract the largest audience. They need ratings. They need to keep advertisers happy. Serving the public interest is way down the list.
That’s why all the networks gave us wall-to-wall coverage of the Jodi Arias and George Zimmerman trials. It’s why they report goofy celebrity comments, royal births and scandals of all varieties.
Every minute they spend on that kind of “news” is a minute when they aren’t reporting real news. For example, did you know we are only months away from nuclear war in the Middle East?
That’s exactly what someone who should know said on a major network last weekend. The much-lauded “journalist” barely noticed some earth-shattering news right in front of him.
James DiGeorgia thinks nonstop about gold, energy and global commodities. He doesn’t miss much.
Last Sunday James watched “Face the Nation” on CBS. Bob Schieffer interviewed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Here is part of their conversation about Iran’s effort to build a nuclear weapon.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what — how close are they right now? Are they within a month? Are they within six months of having the capability? How close do you think they are?
NETANYAHU: They’re closer. The most difficult thing in making a bomb is making the fissile nuclear material that is at the heart of the bomb. That is really the 90% of the effort, if I have to just put a thumb’s rule on it. And they’re getting closer.
They have now about 190 kilos out of the 250 kilos of 20%-enriched uranium. They had six, seven months — eight months ago about 110 kilos. So they’re edging up to the red line. They haven’t closed — they haven’t crossed it yet.
They’re also building faster centrifuges that will enable them to jump the line, so to speak, at a much-faster rate. That is within a few weeks, once they get to that critical mass of 250 kilos.
Iran’s nuclear program is well-known, but Netanyahu said something important in this interview. James did the math instantly. Here is what he saw.
- Netanyahu says 250 kilos is the “critical mass” needed to build a weapon.
- Eight months ago, Iran had 110 kilos.
- Now Iran has 190 kilos.
- This means Iran enriched 80 kilos in the last eight months — a 10-kilo-per-month pace.
- Iran is six months away from having enough uranium to build a nuclear bomb!
- Faster centrifuges could bring a strike even faster.
Does this sound like important news? I sure think so. So should you, especially if you’re planning to visit Bethlehem for Christmas this year.
Now, we have to give Schieffer credit for interviewing Netanyahu and asking the question. Where he could have improved was in the follow-up. Here is the next part of their exchange.
NETANYAHU: They’re not there yet. They’re getting closer. They should be — they should understand that they are not going to be allowed to cross it.
SCHIEFFER: When will you make a decision on whether to attack Iran, because you have said, this will not stand?
NETANYAHU: Well, I can tell you I won’t wait until it’s too late.
SCHIEFFER: All right. I guess we’ll leave it there.
This is amazing. The prime minister of Israel told viewers exactly when he believes a hostile power will be able to attack his country. Then he said “I won’t wait until it’s too late” to defend his nation.
Netanyahu could be wrong, of course. He is a politician with his own agenda. A good journalist would see this as an opportunity to go a little deeper and pull out better facts. So what did Schieffer say?
“I guess we’ll leave it there.”
Maybe Schieffer ran out of time or questions. But it was a real opportunity missed … one that we can learn from and apply right away.
Something else in today’s news gives us another great example of why we should always dig deeper, press harder and ask more questions …
- In remarks on Capitol Hill today, Ben Bernanke said the Fed’s QE plans “are by no means on a preset course.” In other words, they haven’t made up their minds yet.
- This isn’t new. Bernanke has said all along the taper plan would begin only if economic indicators stay positive. Some people were surprised anyway.
- The Fed’s quarterly “Beige Book” economic forecast came out today. We learned that, in many of the 12 districts this business-activity report represents, factories saw a rise in new orders, production and/or shipments. The takeaway is that we are continuing along the road to recovery. However …
- One thing the Fed noted was that “strong demand in residential construction continued to stimulate the manufacturing sector in several districts.” Yet, today’s housing starts and permits data tell a different story.
- Housing starts posted their biggest expectations miss since 2007, while permits made their largest shortfall in history to expectations.
- More earnings news: Bank of America (BAC) and Yahoo! (YHOO) both beat their estimates. Shares spiked 2.8% and 10.34%, respectively, in today’s trading.
Good luck and happy investing,
Uncommon Wisdom Daily