Why business television exists

The Globe’s John Doyle sums up one of the problems that plagues business television in his enjoyably tart column from Thursday:

All-business television and business news segments had to create their own iconography, mainly because business news is essentially boring and difficult to illustrate. The natural, real-world imagery of business TV is footage of some machine stamping loonies or churning out $20 bills. The only alternative is a tracking shot of shirt-sleeved traders talking on the phone and staring at computer screens.

Now, I’ve spent many hours trying to find interesting footage to accompany stories on accounting malfeasance and drops in GDP, so I know exactly what he’s talking about. However, I’d question his assertion that business news is boring. In defence of business newscasters everywhere, some of us are fascinated by the market, which overreacts as much as it underreacts to events and whose moods are buffeted by geopolitical activity as much as by actual corporate earnings. Watching the ups and downs of stock indexes in real time can be as weirdly fascinating as watching an ant — or a toddler — make its incomprehensibly chaotic way on the sidewalk. That’s why people watch business television — and, importantly, why there must always be a market update every fifteen minutes.