You’d think that during the worst economic crisis since at least the 1930s, a news organisation would make sure it had someone who had a basic grasp of economics, wouldn’t you.
Not so, the Evening Post, if this editorial and the related ‘news report’ are anything to go by:
In praise of: Optimism about the economy
Thursday, May 21, 2009,
DEL Brett has gone where many fear to tread. The boss of the new Future Inn hotel at Cabot Circus says the worst of the recession is over and Bristol will be unscathed.
His forecast is not shared by everyone. However, there is a view that utterances such as this can help the economy pick up in the same way that pessimistic talk brought us to the situation we find ourselves in today.
Confidence is a key factor in economic wellbeing and can be the catalyst for getting things moving again. Mr Brett may or may not be proved to be right, but it is hard to avoid the feeling that a few more positive voices could be just the thing we need to kick-start the economy.
This nonsense was written in response to a woeful piece of press-release cut-n-paste churnalism plugging the opening of that cheap, tatty looking hotel next to Carboot Circus. The hotel’s owner claims that the worst of the recession is over: Hooray! He does actually say, "I’m not saying the recession is over but I believe we’ve got through the worst of it." but doesn’t stop the Post telling a massive porky in the headline: “Bristol hotel boss: ‘Recession is over’”.
The problem is that nowhere in either the article or the editorial is any evidence or justification whatsoever offered to back up this economic insight. And so, without any facts, the Post falls back on some kind of mysticism, suggesting that the recession was caused by “pessimistic talk” and that positive thinking could get the economy out of trouble. But this isn’t positive thinking, it’s fucking wishful thinking by some businessman who’s just opened a crappy hotel in the middle of a recession. We expect to read this kind of mumbo-jumbo bullshit on the horoscope page; but to see it in the news and editorial pages when covering such a serious subject really does make you wonder who the fuck is running this paper, what planet they live on and what the fuck they’ve been smoking.
More worrying even than the Post’s believe in hippinomics, is this line: “. . . says the worst of the recession is over and Bristol will be unscathed.”
Bristol will be unscathed? Which fucking Bristol is that, then? The same Bristol where unemployment has doubled in 12 months (with little more than a passing mention by the Post)? The same Bristol that’s suffering a massive housing crisis which is being completely ignored by the Post?
I know they are quoting some idiot, self-interested businessman here, but if journalists are willing unthinkingly to print this drivel without examining or challenging it, then that amounts to promoting it.
And then, this news broke on the same day: “UK moved a slight notch closer to bust”, as the UK’s credit rating was downgraded to ‘negative’ for the first time and the country moved closer to bankruptcy. This news almost guarantees a worsening of the crisis as creditors rush to claw back their cash and the government further tightens the screws on us.
And then this news broke on the same day: “Daily Mail raises job cuts amid 47% profit fall”, as Post owner DMGT announced yet more job cuts and profit loses, blaming the recession. Perhaps bosses at the Post have been thinking too many negative thoughts recently.
But hey, here’s me being a Negative Nelly and wrecking the economy; let’s all just close our eyes and think nice, happy thoughts of fluffy clouds and cute kittens and we’ll all be alright . . .