Economic illiteracy and distortion infests the BBC

BBC Director General Mark Thompson was so acutely aware of the institutional bias in the corporation’s political reporting he felt minded, when the General Election was called, to state that the BBC would be reporting impartially on the campaign, saying it was:

‘…vital that the BBC is able to provide a strong and independent place where the big debates can take place – free from political or commercial influence’.

They were fine words that should have been unnecessary.  However they reflected the reality of the situation.  Tonight that reality was once again brought into stark relief on Newsnight, courtesy of Paul Mason, the programme’s economics editor.  Mason, a supporter and previous member of the hard left Workers Power, a Trotskyist group which is the British section of the League for the Fifth International, has adopted lock, stock and barrel, Labour’s economically illiterate rhetoric about ‘removing £6 billion from the economy’.

When a BBC journalist repeats the unfounded campaign mantra of one of the political parties as a given truth, how is that free of political influence?  It is nothing but bias.

The concept that a decision not to impose additional taxation has the effect of taking money out of the economy  is complete and utter rubbish. It is a distortion.  A lie.  Labour’s and Mason’s view is clear, if our money isn’t in government coffers it isn’t part of the economy.  Well, if the money in my bank account and my pension plan isn’t part of the economy, what the hell is it exactly, and is the government doing taxing it?

This economic illiteracy is what passed for balanced assessment on the BBC’s flagship news and politics programme, just before Labour’s Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne, was rolled out to talk about the economy’s anaemic growth of just 0.2%.  Why not be done with it and put a huge ‘Vote Labour’ backdrop behind Jeremy Paxman?  Perhaps Mason should have stuck to being a music teacher where his capacity for distortion and economic fallacy might have been contained.

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