Friday, May 13, 2005
The question is, will The New York Times notice? Oh, I know it will report the exchange rates in the business section and it might even run an article there commenting on the dollar's rally, but will it display a headline on the front page that reads "Dollar stronger today than on November 2," or something comparable?
The reason I ask, of course, is that less than a month ago the Times thought it reasonable to compare the levels of the stock market on April 14 and November 2. The front page headline read "STOCKS PLUNGE TO LOWEST POINT SINCE ELECTION." So I'm wondering whether the editors of the Times will -- in the spirit of fairness -- observe on the front page that the dollar is stronger today than it was six months ago.
I'm not holding my breath.
Of course, you might reasonably argue that the strength of the dollar is not nearly as important to public policy or politics as the value in the stock market. I might even agree with you. The problem is, though, that the Times has also made a big stink about the value of the dollar on foreign exchange markets. On April 2, for example, the Times editors twisted their hankies at length over weakness in the dollar, proclaiming that its value is "heading down, no matter what." Not only was this bad for America, but according to the Grey Lady the Bush administration was to blame.
Unfortunately for the currency traders on the NYT's editorial board, six weeks later the dollar is stronger than it was on both April 2 and November 2, 2004. Indeed, if the editors of the Times had shorted the dollar in accordance with their prediction that it was "heading down, no matter what," their trade would be in a losing position.
Since at least the beginning of the year, the editors of The New York Times have repeatedly offered ephemeral weakness in one or another financial asset as proof that the Bush Administration has mismanaged those parts of the economy entrusted to the federal government. The stock market is down since some arbitrary day in the past? According to the Times, that's the Bush Administration's fault. The dollar is "heading down, no matter what"? The Times is so confident that the world's reserve currency is on the brink of collapse one is forced to wonder why we bother with foreign exchange markets at all, or why the editors haven't all retired with the millions they have made trading currency. And when the dollar rises, we can be damned sure that there won't be the faintest peep of an "oops" from the editors.
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