In Friday’s column, I returned to a recurrent theme of mine… how relentless media negativity distorts the true state of the world and costs you money.
A lot of money.
Over the course of a lifetime, it could easily be the difference between spending your retirement counting nickels and dimes and enjoying total financial independence.
For years now, I have pointed out that Americans were living longer, healthier, safer, richer, freer lives than ever before.
The pandemic changed that. And fast.
Over the past year, American life expectancy declined, poverty rose, violence increased.
And no one living under a lockdown feels freer than ever.
I don’t blame the media for dutifully reporting the spread of the coronavirus, the negative effects on business and the economy, and the disruption in our personal lives, including the tragic loss of friends and loved ones.
I fault the media for hyping the narrative, cheerleading draconian lockdowns, promoting pessimists masquerading as “authorities,” and providing virtually no balance or context.
Is it wrong to use scare tactics and abject pessimism during a health crisis?
Yes, it is.
People need accurate information – including the value of mask wearing, social distancing and vaccination – not misinformation and scaremongering.
Let me give you just a few examples…
Moderna (Nasdaq: MRNA), a triple-digit winner in The Insider Alert, created its COVID-19 vaccine within two days of China posting the coronavirus genome online last February.
It took nine months for testing and approval. But the vaccine was created in 48 hours.
Yet, a year ago, the media interviewed one “expert” after another to confidently pronounce that – realistically – we were years away from an effective vaccine.
The stock market – which reflects all informed opinions rather than just expert ones – disagreed. And began a powerful rally on March 24 that is still ongoing.
Once the virus spread, the media reported one heartbreaking COVID-19 fatality after another.
However, I couldn’t help noticing the age of most of the victims in these stories.
There were college students, young parents, children and even a few babies.
Of course, deaths in nursing homes don’t pack an emotional wallop like folks getting cut down in the prime of their lives.
To attract viewers, the media created the impression that the coronavirus was far more lethal to young, healthy individuals than it actually is.
And speaking of nursing homes…
The mainstream media celebrated New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for his exemplary job in “following the science” to protect his state’s residents with severe lockdowns.
Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was depicted as reckless, endangering his citizens by giving consideration to the economic and educational impact and imposing only temporary or partial lockdowns.
Today we know that a smaller percentage of Floridians have suffered COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths than New Yorkers.
And the gap is almost certainly even larger than we know, as Cuomo and his administration are under investigation for deliberately undercounting nursing home deaths.
Throughout the pandemic, the mainstream media has been an energetic cheerleader for severe lockdowns that damaged livelihoods and families.
Ancillary costs – including the bankruptcy of thousands of small businesses, the layoffs of millions of workers, the educational disruption of tens of millions of students and the personal hardships of countless American families – didn’t change the equation.
And speaking of students…
My son, David, accepted a presidential scholarship at High Point University and will enroll as a freshman this fall.
At a meeting two weeks ago, the university’s president, Dr. Nido Qubein, noted that the school has held in-person classes for every subject for the entire school year, beginning last August.
The negative impact on the school, its students and its teachers? Negligible, he said.
I’ll bet you never heard this story.
That’s because it doesn’t fit the media’s meta-narrative, that schools should open only when it is safe to do so.
Maybe not this fall, but eventually…
What does all this have to do with your investment portfolio? In a word, everything.
If you are going to risk your hard-earned money in the stock market, you need an accurate depiction of the state of the world – one that balances the bad with the good, offers some context and provides a sense of optimism about the future.
The media won’t do this. That’s why you have to understand their game…
Tragedies, danger and loss are great subjects for the nightly news. But fear and anxiety won’t help you optimize your portfolio.
Yes, there are and always have been problems and setbacks happening around the world.
The pandemic was one of the worst. Yet many positive developments have come out of it.
In my next column, we’ll look at what these are, why the pandemic will look like a blip from a longer-term perspective and why – despite what the media is warning you – there isn’t likely to be another one.
Not just soon but ever.
Click here to watch Alex’s latest video update.