Saturday, 15 September 2018

Spin


Following on from the previous post (and as noted in the comments there), the BBC News website engaged in a bit of spin about the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee's latest minutes. accentuating the negative, downplaying the positive. 

And then came this:


Well, you won't find the phrase "mounting fears" anywhere in the MPC minutes. That's the BBC's own form of words. 

What the MPC actually says is...:
The MPC continues to recognise that the economic outlook could be influenced significantly by the response of households, businesses and financial markets to developments related to the process of EU withdrawal.  Since the Committee’s previous meeting, there have been indications, most prominently in financial markets, of greater uncertainty about future developments in the withdrawal process.
...which is considerably more cautious in its use of language than the BBC's "mounting fears", isn't it?

Indeed, as the BBC report evolved over time the focus on those "mounting fears" were made more prominent. 

Looking at Newssniffer, the earlier version of the report introduced the Brexit question in its third paragraph: 
The MPC said there had been indications of "greater uncertainty" in the process of withdrawing from the EU since its last meeting.
The later version lifted the Brexit point into the opening paragraph and dropped the word "indications":
The Bank of England has left interest rates on hold at 0.75% as expected but flagged "greater uncertainty" around the Brexit negotiations.
Nice use of the word 'flagged' there, by the way. It's perhaps more accurate to say that the BBC was 'flagging' it here.

1 comment:

  1. I think you'd nailed them on this one Craig. Excellent! They've got no defence for "mounting fears". Uncertainty doesn't always lead to bad outcomes. There was a lot of uncertainty after WW2 but out of the uncertainty emerged a boom in living standards and welfare that had no parallel in history.

    BTW I also point out that the BBC when "mounting fears" so to speak and taking them for a ride across our screens and speakers, never puts things in context. We are confronted, according to the BBC, by the prospect of a housing price slump on exiting the EU. They never report that there have been four such housing slumps while we have been EU members, so there's nothing very unusual about that. We saw a six year slump which neatly coincided with Major's Prime Ministership.

    Furthermore the BBC has had many programmes decrying the cost of housing...well from that angle a slump in prices can only bring good. Many people look back on previous house price slumps fondly as the time they were first able to get on the housing ladder. There must be many young Remainers who secretly hope we do Brexit and that as a result house prices slump and they can afford to buy somewhere.

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