Faux-balance on Newsnight.

Krugman went on Newsnight last night via video link to debate the Business Minister Matthew Hancock. It was basically a re-run of his appearance a year ago. His position hasn’t changed because nothing has transpired to suggest his theory is wrong. The same justification for a repeat performance is hardly available to Tory ministers, who have since seen the awful effects of their policies continue, with the magical benefits of austerity still allegedly lingering on the ever-distant horizon. But the same bullshit rhetoric was churned out about ‘borrowing your way out of debt’ being a contradiction.

The worst part, though, was David Grossman’s preceding report, which continued to sustain the myth that reasonable people support both positions here. The guy is a political correspondent we are obliged by law to fund, and yet he can’t even fulfil his journalistic function of shedding light on the truth of the matter here. No graphs demonstrating the indisputable correlation between austerity and diminished growth, directly contradicting the coalition’s promise. Instead, we just get the ‘balance’ of being told that economists fall into two camps on the austerity debate, before one from each side got their sound-bite. What Grossman omitted was the fact that one side’s predictions have been proven true, whilst the other side keeps shifting their story to retroactively fit the facts. And what he failed to mention was that the anti-austerity camp is now enormous, as I showed last summer:

[T]here’s obviously Krugman, joined by Joseph Stiglitz, Vicky Pryce, Robert Skidelsky, Jayati Ghosh and Steve Keen.

Then there’s twenty economists who backed Osborne in 2010, whose intervention he hailed as ‘a really significant moment in the economic debate’. Only one of them is now willing to still explicitly endorse Osborne’s policies.

Add to those two further Nobel laureates, Amartya Sen and Christopher Pissarides. Then there’s also Alan BlinderNouriel RoubiniRobert Shiller and Robert Reich. Add Simon Wren-Lewis at Oxford…

Even the IMF, World Bank and WTO are now united in warning about the risks of rapid austerity.

Who are these allegedly equally credible and numerous people still supporting the British government and making the opposite case? They can’t be pointed to because they don’t exist. At least the public has started to get this, even if Newsnight still doesn’t.


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