Brexit and the politicisation of truth | Mainly Macro

160612 EU sovereignty
Valuable insight on the problem with providing ‘balanced’ reporting on the TV news, from Simon Wren-Lewis on his Mainly Macro blog:

I watched the BBC’s early evening news on Saturday: not something I would normally do but for the football. (Unfortunately I cannot find a recording of it.) The bulletin reported the IMF post-Brexit forecasts, and then (for balance) had Patrick Minford saying why the IMF had got it all wrong. The impression most non-economists viewers would have received is that the long run economic impact of Brexit could go either way.

This is politicisation of the truth; a claim that “views differ” similar to when we were all told that some people believe the Earth is flat, rather than an oblate spheroid. It does not take account of the fact that the vast majority of people may hold one view, and only a few believe in the other.

A clear Brexit example of ‘shape of the earth: views differ’ style of reporting is the £350 million a week figure. Furthermore it is a clever lie, because it focuses attention on a direct benefit of Brexit, and away from probable costs. (I’ve no idea if this is true, but I once heard that when Joseph McCarthy claimed there were many communists working in government, he would keep changing the number. As a result, the topic of conversation became how many there actually were, rather than whether there were any at all and whether it mattered.)

It is not the only example from those campaigning for Brexit.

Source: mainly macro: More on Brexit and the politicisation of truth


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2 thoughts on “Brexit and the politicisation of truth | Mainly Macro

  1. Neilth

    The attempts by the media to appear even handed in election times is laughable. It means that outrageous lies are perpetuated because those responsible for scrutinising political arguments are failing to do their jobs. For example the Soutn Wales Echo constantly prints letters that are factually so wrong they would be laughable. Eg there was a letter yesterday railing about democracy in the EU because the EU parliament is ‘unelected’, and the other day there was one about the UN Agenda 21 which is allegedly EU sponsored and means that elderly people’s property would become public property on their deaths so family couldn’t inherit!!

    Surely it’s beyond time to insist that all publications should have to decline to publish outright lies and misinformation or at least publish corrections to claims that are patently untrue. Eg MEPs who are the European Parliament are all elected in the usual way, just like your MP.

  2. casalealex

    Real reform of monetary and other problems is a partnership where both the country and the lender are benefitted. However, with IMF ‘reform’ the lender ends up with the assets and the country gets shafted.

    The IMF starts by writing up glowing reports by Goldman Sachs experts. “Investments will improve your revenues.” they promise. But when the revenues fall short IMF snivels, “We’re so sorry you screwed up. Give us your national treasures and we’ll renegotiate”.

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