There’s an interesting story in the Washington Post describing the new type of reality TV that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has ushered in with his first news conference Wednesday:
For Ben S. Bernanke, the past few weeks have included practicing answers for potential questions from reporters, getting comfortable behind a mahogany desk chosen as a set piece at the Federal Reserve’s first regular news conference, and, oh yeah, deciding what to do at a big meeting to set the nation’s monetary policy.
Members of the press corps who cover Bernanke spent the same period trying to dream up a killer question, asking readers and experts for ideas of what to ask, sweating whether they would get in a question at all. Cable business channels spent the day broadcasting from booths outside the Fed’s headquarters, with countdowns to the chairman’s first news conference ticking on the screen.
When the two sides met Wednesday, under bright lights and with a chorus of clicking cameras — and as Wall Street traders held their breath — the result of all that buildup and hype hit the airwaves. What America saw was a different variety of reality television: a sober and frequently arcane discussion of topics that matter more to Americans’ economic futures than almost anything else on TV.
There were moments in which the Fed chairman made points that would be hard to follow for anyone who hasn’t spent a lot of time studying economics. (“We have seen, for example, in the financial markets, in the indexed bond market for example, or in surveys like the Michigan survey, we’ve seen near-term inflation expectations rise fairly significantly,” he said.)
But Bernanke, a former college professor who frequently subjects members of Congress to the same explanatory skills he used to teach undergraduates, made plenty of points that addressed the core concerns Americans have about the economy. If the first one is a guide, the news conferences, which are to occur quarterly, will offer Bernanke an opportunity to address the latest economic issues in a format suitable for the evening news, not merely to send signals to the financial markets.
Bernanke then goes on to discuss gas prices and other issues in the article.
In the AJC:
In other media:
- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat
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