If you're going to make informed decisions, financial or otherwise, it's important to get your facts straight – something you might not be achieving, depending on who you turn to for news.
More than a decade ago, the Christian Science Monitor recently ran a story called Are you smarter than a Fox News viewer? How about a CNN viewer? based on a survey conducted in 2010 by WorldPublicOpinion.org and Knowledge Networks.
I wrote an article about it, but not because of politics. I wrote it because investors need to be especially concerned about separating truth from fiction, and facts from opinion. Being uninformed or ill-informed as an investor can be expensive.
For example, here's one of the questions asked in the WorldPublicOpinion survey: It concerns the Great Recession, which began just before Obama took office.
As you know, the American economy had a major downturn starting in the fall of 2008. Do you think that now the American economy is:
A. Starting to recover.
B. Still getting worse.
This question was posed late in 2010. How would you have answered? More than half of overall news viewers thought the economy was still getting worse. But nearly three quarters of Fox viewers thought it was getting worse.
The truth? The economic recovery began in the third quarter of 2009, so it was into recovery mode in 2010, when this question was asked.
Many of the stocks I own today were purchased in the spring and summer of 2009, when the economy was bottoming out. Presumably those who thought the economy was getting worse were on the sidelines in their 401(k)s or other investments. I made a ton of money by accessing unbiased facts.
This is one of many examples of how slanted news, whether on the right or the left, can make otherwise informed investors uniformed.
That's what this week's "Money!" podcast is about. We're going to talk about how to determine whether the news you're consuming, financial or otherwise, is reliable enough to put your money where somebody else's mouth is.
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