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March 1, 2020 | Relax. The Mainstream Media Has It All Wrong, as Usual

Rick Ackerman

Rick Ackerman is the editor of Rick’s Picks, an online service geared to traders of stocks, options, index futures and commodities. His detailed trading strategies have appeared since the early 1990s in Black Box Forecasts, a newsletter he founded that originally was geared to professional option traders. Barron’s once labeled him an “intrepid trader” in a headline that alluded to his key role in solving a notorious pill-tampering case. He received a $200,000 reward when a conviction resulted, and the story was retold on TV’s FBI: The Untold Story. His professional background includes 12 years as a market maker in the pits of the Pacific Coast Exchange, three as an investigator with renowned San Francisco private eye Hal Lipset, seven as a reporter and newspaper editor, three as a columnist for the Sunday San Francisco Examiner, and two decades as a contributor to publications ranging from Barron’s to The Antiquarian Bookman to Fleet Street Letter and Utne Reader.

You can relax: Bernie doesn’t have a prayer of winning. And neither does Biden. Or Bloomberg. At times it may seem as though one of these guys could actually give Trump a run for his money. Even I thought so for a brief moment. But that’s only because the gaseous delusion that is Bernie has been pumped to nebula-size by a news media and popular culture that cannot  deal with the prospect of four more years of Trump.

In the meantime, the term ‘mainstream media’ has become an oxymoron, as the shoddy, shamelessly biased reportage that passes for journalism these days becomes increasingly irrelevant to any seeker of fact or truth. The pathetic remnants of the fish wrap industry are fighting for their lives, trying to survive in a country where most readers would sooner trust the National Enquirer than the New York Times, Washington Post or Los Angeles Times.

Shriveling Leviathans

Desperately trying to stave off bankruptcy, these shriveling leviathans have amped up the ridiculous notion that the 2020 election will be a real contest. That is what newspapers do – try to whip readers into a frenzy. Not this time, though. Try as they may, there’s not enough genuine excitement in the 2020 election to captivate even those being pandered to. Cheering “Ray-rah, Bernie!” is like pretending the Baltimore Orioles could win in October.

But coronavirus stories are proving to be a weak alternative, since no one really knows how the pandemic will play out. Uncertainty and ignorance can be stretched only so thin as grist for sensational stories, even by the most inventive creators of headlines. For now, though, each and every new case that surfaces in America is being treated as a national story. “A Belleville woman was hospitalized Monday with suspected coronavirus as local health authorities combed the neighborhood to determine whether the disease had spread.” This is big news these days, and it is predictable that the drumbeat will intensify between now and summer, when it could be the virus that is fighting for its life rather than us. In the meantime, between local hospitalizations, we will be left with the dregs of coronavirus reportage – stories that exhort us to stay hydrated, get plenty of sleep and eat healthy.

The Candidates…

A few parting words about the candidates:

Bernie: Tune out the polls. British canvassers actually believed Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie’s Marxist, antisemitic twin, could win and he got trounced. No one who openly admires Castro, Ortega and Chavez can be elected U.S. president, at least not yet.

Bloomberg: When the press asks whether he can buy the election, they are avoiding the real question: Is anyone in America so stupid and malleable that his or her vote can be swung by tweets, Facebook ‘likes’ and TV ads, even a billion dollars’ worth of them? Yes, unfortunately there are quite a few such individuals — just not enough of them to elect Bloomberg.

Biden: Have we ever seen anything so politically unpersuasive as the high-fives that greeted his South Carolina victory over the weekend? Even for the party faithful, this was just a pathetic burst of firecrackers on the seventh of July.

Trump: Before the pandemic emerged, I wrote that my nightmare scenario (“How Sanders Could Win”) would be a black swan taking the economy down and Trump with it. Now that the black swan has actually arrived, it seems clear that Trump cannot be credibly blamed — even though some will try hard — for Covid-19’s effects on the global economy. Sanders could conceivably win if America were in a Second Great Depression, but even if one is coming, the nation’s hour of deepest desperation won’t arrive soon enough to give him a fighting chance.

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March 1st, 2020

Posted In: Rick's Picks

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