Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Facts Get In The Way Of Poor BBC Story

Blatant bias using a headline to twist a story for political advantage is as old as the hills. Brown's BBC is at it today, claiming a report shows the gap between rich and poor is narrowing thanks to old pal Blair. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Under the headline "Rich and poor gap 'narrows'", BBC on-line news uses an OECD report by Mike Pearson to justify the headline and quotes the author saying the decline in inequality in the UK has been "remarkable".

Gushing with praise the report continues: "The gap between rich and poor in the UK has decreased since 2000, an international survey has concluded."

The report's author told the BBC: "...the poor have been getting richer more rapidly than the rich since 2000."

And guess who we have to thank for it all?

"To some extent this reflects the Blairite approach; that you do, almost, the redistribution by stealth," he said. "...you don't advertise the fact that you've actually put an awful lot more resources into helping the least well off in society."

Oh dear, the Orange Party has been wrong about Blair, Brown and New Labour all along. They are pretty straight sort of guys after all. But wait a minute. The Daily Telegraph has a totally opposite headline. Shurley Shome mistake?

According to the BBC, the report also says the UK still has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the developed world.

The gap between higher and lower incomes widened by 15%, and earning inequality is worse than in most of the organisation's 30 member countries.

"Both ends of the distribution have been getting richer, but the poor actually have been getting richer more rapidly than the rich since the year 2000," said the report.

So the headline could have been "Rich Get Richer Under New Labour" or even "UK Poor Still the Poor Man of Europe". Or as the Daily Telegraph reported: "OECD says gap between rich and poor in UK among widest in the world."

And to cap it all, Pearson said that the narrowing of the wealth gap appeared to have "flattened off" in the years since 2005.

So, for the last three years, the angle and headline "Rich and poor gap narrows" well, just hasn't happened.

Is this the same OECD and Mike Pearson who in 2002 produced a similar survey - showing the gap between rich and poor in the UK had actually widened?

Auntie should take a lesson from Dragnet: "All we want are the facts, ma'am, just the facts".

1 comment:

the orange party said...

UPDATE: Well done BBC. Shortly after this post, this none story about rich and poor was dropped from the front page and buried.
It was replaced by a real news item which affects everyone - UK manufacturing has dropped to its lowest level for 28 years. Clear, well-written, factually accurate and above all unbiased.