Audit Notes: inside the Fed, few use Twitter, entitled ‘job creators’

The Wall Street Journal takes us inside how Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke convinced his colleagues to go all in on a third round of quantitative easing, in a nice page one story:

Mr. Bernanke didn’t see inflation as a threat but viewed unemployment as a deeper problem than he had realized. The central bank, in his view, needed to act. The Fed chairman listened to colleagues’ concerns during the calls, people familiar with the matter said, drawing out their reservations and probing for common ground. He eventually seized on a compromise that came from a little-known Fed governor…

Fed officials described the Fed chairman’s phone calls as low-pressure conversations. Mr. Bernanke sometimes dialed up colleagues while in his office on weekends, catching them off guard when their phones identified his private number as unknown. He gave updates on the latest staff forecasts, colleagues said. He asked their thoughts and what they could comfortably support, they said.

The calls helped Mr. Bernanke gauge how far he could push his committee. It also won him trust among some of his fiercest opponents, officials said. Nearly all of Mr. Bernanke’s colleagues described him as a good listener.

It’s interesting and important to see how the Fed chairman, who most people seem to think is a kind of dictator, works his board members behind the scenes.

— In Echo Chamber Watch, Henry Blodget writes that “the little-discussed secret about Twitter is that only a tiny fraction of those who have signed up for accounts on Twitter use it regularly,” pointing to Pew research on media usage.

Pew finds just 11 percent of Americans have ever seen news on Twitter, and only about 3 percent of Americans saw news on Twitter in the 24 hours before they were surveyed. And it’s not just the oldsters weighing down the average. Just 7 percent of 18-29 year olds got news on Twitter in the previous 24 hours.

It just seems like everyone uses Twitter now, but that’s because you’re in the news media, where everyone uses Twitter now.

Meantime, just 23 percent of Americans read a print newspaper in that time (though 38 percent say they still read one regularly). Which means far more Americans read news via Facebook and other social networks (not including Twitter) than via print papers. Some 36 percent said they’d read news there in the previous day.

— The Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein writes about the various entitlements of the “job creators”:

— I am entitled to complain bitterly about taxes that are always too high, even when they are at record lows.

I am entitled to a judicial system that efficiently enforces contracts and legal obligations on customers, suppliers and employees but does not afford them the same right in return.

I am entitled to complain about the poor quality of service provided by government agencies even as I leave my own customers on hold for 35 minutes while repeatedly telling them how important their call is…

I am entitled to be lionized in the media without answering any questions from reporters.


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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,