Talking the economy down

Television news programmes these days give the impression that camera crews are being sent around the country with a brief to film anything they can, so long as it shows the economy in as negative a light as possible.

The most misleading and dishonest example I’ve seen so far was film of a shopping centre on the BBC Ten o’clock News. “There are plenty of shoppers here ..” the commentary told us authoritatively and with a hint of optimism that only lasted as far as the but clause in the same sentence “but not many of them are carrying carrier bags.”

The question is: did the reporter have any evidence about how many shoppers were there and what percentage of them were carrying new purchases around with them in carrier bags at the same time on the same day in the same shopping centre a year ago, when there weren’t any worries about the economy?

If so, he didn't bother to mention it – but why let matters of fact and truth get in the way of making up a story to meet the mood of the times (not to mention the demands of your editor)?

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