While everyone is enduring yet another full day of BBC reporting negatively about the nasty cuts forced on the poorest by the Conservative-led Coalition, it’s also necessary to check out the BBC’s reporting on budget policy developments in the US.
Barack Obama unveils US budget plans for 2012
US President Barack Obama has unveiled his 2012 budget, describing the proposal as a “down payment” on future cuts to the US budget deficit.
The budget aims to cut $1.1tn (£690bn) from the US deficit over a decade.
He said the US must live within its means and called for some reductions, but said “we can’t sacrifice our future” with drastic cuts.
The White House policy sounds suspiciously like the Labour line. It’s not a coincidence, as both Labour and the White House are guided by the same economic principles. Notice how the BBC treats The Obamessiah’s position.
After the requisite criticisms from Republicans – which sound suspiciously like the Tory statements, only without the luxury of the “we inherited this mess” card – we get more of the Labour line….sorry….White House line that we “can’t sacrifice our future in the process”. Does that sound familiar? It should.
The BBC sub-editor who put this together subtly sets you up to interpret the subsequent statement from the President with this:
Although Mr Obama is empowered to propose a budget, it is up to the US Congress to enact it into law and then to distribute the funds.
Mr Obama’s budget is seen as an opening bid in a long process of negotiation with House and Senate leaders of both parties, and analysts say Republicans will press for deeper cuts.
“Analysts” say? The Republicans themselves have only been shouting it from the rooftops since Nov. 3. Why bother attributing the notion to anonymous analysts? Also notice how the BBC makes sure to include that the negotiations will be with the leaders of both parties.
Then we get some Gordon Brown language in a summary of one of the President’s points:
At a school in Baltimore on Monday morning, Mr Obama called for future investment in education, transportation infrastructure and high speed internet, “so that every American is equipped to compete with any worker anywhere in the world”.
“Spending” is softened and sexed up into “investment”. You’ve all heard that one before, and will continue to hear it next time Ed Balls is in front of a BBC microphone.
Then the BBC quotes the President’s own words about exactly the same thing.
“While it is absolutely essential to live within our means – and while we are absolutely committed to working with Democrats and Republicans to find further savings and to look at a whole range of budget issues – we can’t sacrifice our future in the process,” he said.
“We have a responsibility to invest in those areas that will have the biggest impact in our future.”
So when the BBC writes that His “budget is seen as an opening bid…”, it’s clear that this is in fact the White House’s talking point. In other words, the people who actually see it this way are the President and Katty Kay’s personal friend, the new White House Spokesman. And the BBC dutifully toes the line. He says He’s going to work with “both parties”, just like the sub-editor set framed it above. Another White House talking point turned into BBC reporting.
The resulting impression is that He’s trying His best to reach across the aisle, and any problems will be due to intransigence by nasty Republicans, who want make budget cuts for purely ideological reasons.
Notice, though, more Labour ideology in the President’s statement: “We can’t sacrifice our future”. We hear it time and time again on the BBC when hearing criticisms of the nasty Tory boodget coots.
The bias only gets worse.
Among the programmes slated for cuts under his own plans are some that Mr Obama said he considered crucial, including development grants for poor neighbourhoods.
Hitting the poorest hardest, naturally. It’s getting to be like an echo.
Mr Obama also reiterated his call for $78bn in cuts to the defence budget.
“If we’re going to walk the walk when it comes to fiscal discipline, these kinds of cuts will be necessary,” he said.
He said he aimed to wring greater efficiency from government programmes and to sell 14,000 government office buildings and properties.
So He’s now portrayed as a fiscal hawk. If He’s going to cut the precious US military machine, He must be serious, no? The only mildly opposing view we get is from another analyst who says – wait for it – that the Republicans will want more cuts. Why not get an actual Republican to say it, BBC? None willing to talk to you off the record? Couldn’t any of the legion of Beeboids in the US get a better source? No, an HSBC (greedy banker!) analyst saying we need to cut more will do nicely. Funny how they manage to dig up a month-old quote from the Treasury Secretary about making sure we “don’t hurt the recovery”. Or was it a quote from Ed Balls just mis-attributed? It’s getting very hard to tell. It’s no wonder the BBC is leaning heavily towards one side here.
The reason I’m making this a main post and not just another complaint in an Open Thread is that the bit right before that Geithner/Balls quote highlights the BBC’s bias on economics reporting both in Britain and elsewhere.
Whereas countries such as the UK have imposed spending cuts to reduce their deficits, the Obama administration has said rapid, drastic spending cuts are not the way forward.
This one sentence reveals the massive editorial bias about economics at the BBC. Countries such as the UK, eh, BBC? The Obama administration has said the exact same thing Labour keeps saying, so it must be true. In the context of the recent – including today’s – relentlessly negative BBC reporting on the Tory spending cuts, one can only draw the conclusion that “drastic” spending cuts are disastrous, hit the poorest hardest, etc.
Censored from this and basically all BBC discussions of countries imposing spending cuts is the one country which actually did it starting last year: Germany. Worst of all for the BBC, the Germans seem to have gotten it right.
The German economy, Europe’s largest, has powered the region’s expansion over the past year as companies stepped up output and hiring to meet export demand. While governments from Ireland to Spain are struggling to revive their economies and push down budget deficits, German business confidence surged to a record last month and manufacturing growth accelerated.
Germany’s outlook is looking better and better because of the austerity measures the BBC hated on at the time. They hated it so much that they actually put up a page asking for input from people engaged in anti-austerity riots in Europe. They acknowledged Germany’s success once or twice (while still reminding you that nobody likes it and the masses are rioting anyway), but it’s quickly swept under the rug and censored when discussing policies in Britain, as if the example doesn’t exist.
Business confidence in Germany is the highest in two decades, basically since before West Germany had to absorb East Germany much in the same way that Lloyds had to (yes, had to, despite Robert Peston’s attempts to make you forget about that) absorb HBOS.
This fact is suspiciously missing not only from this report, but from basically every single BBC report or discussion about budget policy. They don’t want you to think about it, because it contradicts the Narrative: Left economic policies are better.
All you hear from the BBC is how bad these cuts are, and what cruel and unnecessary damage is being done. You never hear of a case where it’s working, and certainly are never allowed to consider how the alternative plan failed in Japan and Ireland, for example. The BBC’s partisan bias on budget policy is very clear and consistent.