I hope you enjoy this as much as I did and share this viewpoint;
Time to Tune in…
With the importance of economic news, especially now, this is the right time to tackle the dualistic message of the news. By that, I mean that there may be two messages that can be legitimately derived from a news report.
The Truth is There, if You Look for it
There are several factors for investors not being prepared for events that impact their money, and the article I read had those factors in it. Using this article, we will walk through the process of reading the news — being on the lookout for the flaws that exist in the reporting of the news, and the presentation of conclusions that often lead to the building of a false sense of security/doom in the general public.
“More Americans Expected to Travel for Thanksgiving,” (Associated Prees via Yahoo)
This article starts on a positive note right from the headline. Things are looking up!
First and foremost is that many readers, investors included, don’t go any further than reading the headline. Some say that they don’t have enough time to read the full article and just want a synopsis. The problem is that the story itself may not be as positive as the headline suggests.
The article can have a positive lean due to purposeful want, or just simple mis-evaluation of the facts. Either way, a title can be very, very misleading, and the investor needs to know that they are doing themselves a great injustice by not reading the full article.
The next problem was mentioned earlier, which is that the conclusion brought forth by the writer may not be correct. Again, let us look at this story. The article states that there will be an increase in the amount of people traveling by car. It is a 2.1% increase over last year. Notice how this “positive” information is mentioned first in this article.
Then, the article states that AAA says that the 2.1% increase shows an improvement in consumer confidence … another positive sign, right?
Maybe not! Also in the article is a very important bit of information that leads me to believe that this article is not the correct read on the information provided. It says that, this year, there will also be a 6.7% decrease in people traveling by air — continuing a decade-long decrease in Thanksgiving air travel. To me, this is not only negative news in and of itself, but also sheds new light on the 2.1% car-traveler increase number. What are the Facts Really Telling You?
With a decrease of 6.7% in air travel, it is only logical that there would be an increase in the amount of people who will be traveling by car this Thanksgiving. Keeping in mind that traveling by car costs much less than traveling by air, it seems to me that people are saying that they have much more time on their hands than money in their pockets! Also, last year saw a 25% decrease in Thanksgiving travel; this year, air travel continued down by 6.7% and car travel was only up 2.1%.
The article claims, “The slight increase suggests the economy has slightly stabilized.” I am not sure that is a valid conclusion. With people deciding against the more-time-convenient but also more-expensive flying for the less-expensive but much more-time-consuming driving, it seems that people are still worried over money.
As I read the facts here, I see something that appears to be different than the positive gist of the story the way it was written and presented. I do NOT see a bullish, positive scenario for travel. I see a story that has a bearish connotation. In the report, real people cited examples of looking for cheaper ways to get to family and friends while others decided to stay at home because of finances. They cited worry over cost as the reason for their travel plans (or lack thereof).
This story, unfortunately, is like many others in that it is dualistic. It is dualistic in that the indirect conclusions that are insinuated by the title of the article seem to be incorrect based upon the real information. But this is not the only place we see duality … the headline and the full story. We also see it in the information presented and a conclusion presented based on the numbers given. While improved consumer confidence was a positive cited based on the numbers given, those examples could have easily supported the negative position that people are still very concerned about their money.
We need to recognize the problems that can exist with the headline and the interpretation of the data in news articles. Investor, Reader Beware – Headlines can be misleading and facts may not support the writer’s positive or negative conclusion. Always read the full article. Separate fact from opinion. Evaluate opinions based on the facts presented. Recognize author bias.
The Tycoon Report