Saturday, February 27, 2010

For 'Black' read 'White'.

My last post highlighted what seemed to me to be a very misleading headline in today's Western Mail. And here's another one. On page 5 we find the headline 'Economy in better shape than we thought'. The article begins "The economy grew more strongly than expected at the end of 2009, official figures showed yesterday". And the Western Mail are not alone in this lapse of judgement. I heard the BBC reporting the same sort of stuff yesterday. Don't they read these reports before they write about them.

The base on which this article has been constructed is that the Office of National Statistics has informed us that the UK economy grew by 0.3% between October and December 2009, rather than the 0.1% than was estimated at the time. Seems straight forward - but its not as it seems. Nothing like as it seems. What actually happened was that growth in the period before October has been down graded, so that the October-December started from a lower base. In fact, economic output in the period was £133 million less than estimated - the opposite of what was reported today. It was actually very bleak news indeed.

The truth of the revised figures may have escaped the media, but not the financial markets. Sterling fell and concerns about a drift back into recession increased. The ONS revised figures were not good news at all. They were dire figures - much worse than anyone had been expecting. Oh dear. You really cannot always believe what you read in the newspapers.

UPDATE - As so often happens, its the Internet that gives us the truth.

5 comments:

alanindyfed said...

Media manipulates opinion.
You are lucky that most of the media is on your side this time!
Now off to watch the Andrew Marr show.

JB said...

Glyn,

I get depressed that the media, including disgracefully the BBC, merely regurgutate the press office releases that are circulated to them by the political machine.

You can see this on a daily basis on BBC & ITV Welsh news where some report or survey shows the Assembky up in a bad light - the response is 'The Assembly is committed to long term reform and has already committed funds....blah, blah, blah.' Never actually analysing or responding to the story.

This lazines has been responsible for the growth of the spin machines.

By the way, good luck on the 25th.

Anonymous said...

The Wales on Sunday also got the Rugby league tables wrong. Maesteg is on to of Div 2 West, not BP Llandarcy!

Tcoah said...

Lack of basic research and biased reporting seems to come with the job for some journalists on the Western Mail, but I exclude Martin Shipton who is a very good writer/journalist, also Alan Edmunds who was a front-line journalist for many years dating back to his Cardiff Post days, journalist on the Cardiff Echo and thence onto his role as editor (I think for the Echo and more recently for the Western Mail).

It is a fact though that the Western Mail and other newspapers are under a lot of pressure/stress with the advent of online news coverage and advertizing leaking to online outlets, etc. So there have been some cutbacks - but I often tune into what's going on back in the native town of my birth, the capital of Wales and I like to read what's going on up and down the valleys and around the Caerphilly/Llanbradach/Bedwas/Trethomas areas where much of my relatives are from and still live or are buried there.
Anyway, there is never any excuse for lack of research and biased reporting - an 'excellent' example of which is found in today's Western Mail feature article: "Obama’s healthcare reform".

The author clearly doesn't understand how health care works in the USA and so repeats the bias reported by other British media outlets.

Here's just one biased clip: "you’re lying there in agony, but they won’t treat you because you couldn’t afford insurance" without any mention of the millions of people in America who get FREE healthcare through Medicaid (covers 100% of medical bills) and Medicare (recipients get 80% of bills paid) and help with prescription costs.

Tcoah said...

I should clarify, there are many good journalists at the Western Mail including David Williamson. Just that there are some that should research better.