Sunday, May 16, 2010

What Else Is He Going To Say?

It’s inevitable that during an economic crisis, journalists will turn to financial leaders for "insight". And it’s just as inevitable those people will provide quotes such as this:

And in an interview broadcast on Sunday, the U.S. Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, signaled his confidence that Europe would resolve its debt crisis and that the American economy would withstand its impact. “Europe has the capacity to manage through this,” Mr. Geithner told Bloomberg Television. “And I think they will.”

Although some have pointed to this as an example of Geithner setting himself up to look silly, I’m not sure what else he’s going to say. Even if he believed Europe couldn’t make it through the crisis, he wouldn’t admit it. And, because of that, no one will ever believe it even if he did.

I realize both the journalists and the politicians are just doing their jobs, but I don’t really see this as a situation where either has much to gain. For the journalists, there is an infinitesimal chance Geithner actually says anything newsworthy. For the leader, at best, you have people question your motives, and, at worst, you leave yourself with public comments that will in the future looks as foolish as this.

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