Want the real story?

April 15

 

I don’t know if anybody wants the real story or not. Everybody says they do, but the news media does not cover the real story much.

IF people want the real story, AND if the marketplace is efficient, THEN it seems like it should follow that the media would deliver the real story. And yet it is rare that the real story is even mentioned, except here, of course. But I have found another example for you of one of the scarce times that it IS mentioned.

The lack of criminal prosecution of the financial industry’s malefaction is actually only a subsidiary story to the REAL real story, the chasm of wealth disparity. People debate how long it took the Grand Canyon to form, but this one took only a few decades, and is now the overwhelming determinant of our economy, our society and our politics. (Rivaled in its effects only by the also mostly-ignored subject of climate).  I ran into somebody over the weekend who told me the data-journalism community was mad at me because I wrote recently that all data is not created equal. That some data (about wealth disparity) is vastly more important than much other data. Maybe I misunderstood this communication, and in any case I doubt that the data-journalism community spends a lot of time worrying about what I say in this Blog. But the fact remains.

Wealth, and the way the financial industry works are two HUGE data-rich subjects that are opaque. And not understood by the public at large. And surpassingly important. I’ll frame this as an opportunity this time, not a criticism. Data journalists can do a lot of good by prying the lid off this stuff and explaining it all to us plainly!

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog.
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Tom Toles · April 14