WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. (TheStreet) -- Black Friday is a day of mourning for sensible media coverage. Too often, the business media indulges in the sensationalistic, weaving a catchy though fluke fight on line into a tale implying (even if left unstated) a high-level of overall demand.
Never mind that there have been plenty of years with hair-pulling fights in the aisles--even a trampling at a
--but scant overall demand.
This year was no different. Even
The Wall Street Journal
got into the act with a headline about a story that made the rounds: "LA Woman Pepper Sprays Other Black Friday Shoppers." Yes, that's how crazy it is out there--but speaking of how crazy it is out there, how are profits looking?
In the end, profits are all that matter to companies, stocks and traders...but next time you see a mention of the potential bottom line in Black Friday coverage, do tell. It's lost in the ether of fighting, pepper spray and other manifestations of top line excitement.
Moreover, no mention of Back Friday is complete without prominently introducing the concept that Black Friday is a relic. The day has been stretched like saltwater taffy. It begins right after Thanksgiving and often continues into post-Christmas sales in January. As an indicator, it's thin. But most of the coverage--including the Journal's pepper-spray story (which saw fit to mention that the woman was shopping for electronics and, while 20 suffered injuries, the rest went on with their shopping rounds)--did not touch upon this defining change. Typical. But whenever the topic is Black Friday and the business media, beware of the typical.
At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.
Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.
For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
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