BBC impartiality at risk because journalists ‘lack understanding of basic economics’ – The Telegraph

by | Jan 30, 2023 | Financial

BBC journalists “lack understanding of basic economics”, according to an independent review of the corporation’s economics coverage.Impartiality is at risk because some journalists at the corporation make assumptions and have gaps in their knowledge, the review found.The thematic review into the broadcaster’s coverage of taxation, public expenditure, government borrowing and government debt was commissioned by the BBC board.Its authors, economics experts Michael Blastland and Sir Andrew Dilnot, were tasked with assessing whether due impartiality was being achieved in these areas.They said: “We think too many journalists lack understanding of basic economics or lack confidence in reporting it. This brings a high risk of impartiality.“In the period of this review, it particularly affected debt. Some journalists seem to feel instinctively that debt is simply bad, full stop, and don’t appear to realise this can be contested and contestable.“Several general assumptions seem to lurk like this, either unnoticed or uncorrected. Others that outsiders observed in BBC coverage were ‘more public spending is good’ and ‘tax cuts are good’.“Whilst these views might seem to make intuitive sense, all favour some interests above others.”Data ‘presented in most alarming way’The report noted one on-air statement in which a BBC journalist said the Government “will have to…”, adding: “We appreciate this was made live and might have been unintended. “Still, BBC journalists should exercise extreme caution before suggesting a government ‘will have to…’ raise taxes, cut taxes, cut spending, raise spending, cut debt, raise debt, etc – in any area.”The authors also identified “an occasional …

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