Deficit and Debt?

December 8, 2012 6:15 PM
By Tony Gillam, Gedling

The BBC's reporting of politics has been bad for some years and is getting worse. On the day of the Autumn Statement:

1 o'clock News: a reporter spoke of the "debt" when he should have said "deficit"; the newscaster and a specialist reporter couldn't understand how people could spend more when they hadn't had a pay increase - entirely overlooking the tax cut as well as other possibilities such as price cuts

10 o'clock News: the newscaster and Nick Robinson both used the word "debt" when they should have said "deficit"

[In recent months I have heard 3 BBC reporters use the phrase "paying off the deficit", which shows they simply don't understand.]

Newsnight: Paxman admitted, in effect, that he didn't know that the budget was a forecast, nor did he understand that all forecasts are wrong (except by accident); they keep talking about the Chancellor's "target", but the budget is a "forecast" and not a "target" and so they go on, misleading the public, day after day.

There are at least two lessons we need to learn from all this:

  • 1: government PR is very poor
  • 2: everyone is focussed on pay increases and rapidly forgets about tax cuts. We need to go on and on about the tax cuts if we want to get any credit for them.

Incidentally, Channel 4's item on the debt/deficit issue, a few nights ago, made the BBC look like a paragon of accuracy.

Tony Gillam, Gedling