BBC Censorship And The Economic Delusions Of Mark Mardell

Andrew has already mentioned this (Pg. 3 of the open thread @ 9:28pm GMT) list of White House attack points on Rick Perry posing as an editorial blog post by Mardell, but now there’s a nice BBC censorship angle to add, so worth a full post.

The BBC US President editor wants you to know how to understand Rick Perry’s claims that his non-Left policies helped not only to keep Texas above water during the Recession/New Depression, but to actually become a business and jobs leader in the country. As Rick Perry is now more or less the leading Republican horse in the race (thanks at least in part to the President’s foolish desire to punch downwards), it’s Mardell’s duty to tell you not to believe what Perry says interpret the issues involved for you.

The main claim to fame here is that Texas creates lots and lots of jobs, right? Even the full power of the Mainstream Media and the White House propaganda machine can’t change that fact, so they need to instead spin it so that you think those jobs are not good and so don’t actually help the “miracle” Perry is claiming, or simply that Republican policies weren’t responsible at all for any success. So Mardell uses one of the older tricks in the book, and generalizes from a single anecdote.

He’s found a cardboard box manufacturer in Texas as his anecdote. The boss waxes enthusiastically about what a great business environment he’s found. Of course, as Mardell points out, his main reasons are geographical location and the availability of the labor he needs, neither of which Perry can possibly claim credit for. Hence the usefulness of this anecdote for the Narrative. The only policy one can point to as being a contributing factor is the clumsily worded “tax abatement”.

By itself, this is just an anecdote. Nothing else offered about any other businesses similarly successful no thanks to specific Republican policies. Yet Mardell expects that this is enough evidence, combined with his other White House talking points, that the Texas success story isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

The other main White House talking point is that all those jobs Texas is creating are “low wages, in many cases.” Wrong. The fact is that, since the Recession/New Depression started, Texas has the 6th-highest rate of increase in hourly wages. This same piece at the PoliticalMath blog also shows why it’s a bit disingenuous for Mardell to point out that Texas’ unemployment numbers aren’t so hot. Many of the new jobs are taken by the hordes of people – legal US citizens from other states – who have flocked into Texas to find work. The unemployment figure is as high as it is because too many people who already live there aren’t getting into the workforce. You can probably look to the state’s southern border and guess why that might be.

Before any defenders of the indefensible try to tell me that the figures are being misrepresented because it’s the median and not the mean, and/or that merely adding a few millionaires and billionaires would skew the wages numbers in Perry’s favor, stop and remember that this is about hourly wages, not salaried folks and business owner income. So when Mardell says that the jobs are low paying “in many cases”, he’s the one being misleading, and deliberately so.

Amusingly, Mardell closes with this:

But there is a down side and a lot more to say. On Monday, I’ll write in this blog about those who highlight the problems, and those conservatives who see Texas as a model – not just for the US, but the whole world.

Um, if this blog post of his is supposed to be about the positives, I’d hate to see him discuss the negatives. Since it’s already Wednesday and he hasn’t come up with anything further, I’ll assume it’s proving a little more difficult than he thought to write about people who think a few positive lessons might be learned from Texas. Either that or he’s still recovering from the stunning blow of having to report that the President says regime change in Libya is a vital US interest. (Mardell didn’t actually attribute that to the President: he just stated it as fact. -ed)

The censorship bit? Well, a while ago, I posted about how the BBC censored news of a few US states which had actually improved their own economic situations with the lower-tax, spending reform policies espoused by the Tea Party movement and disparaged by the BBC. I said that it was wrong for the BBC to censor this news when it would have provided their audience with a very useful context in which to view the US debt crisis debate. I also posted about how the BBC similarly censored the same kind of news about Canada.

Now the BBC is censoring news about a US state which is heading for trouble because of the very tax-and-spend policies which inspired the Tea Party movement in the first place. Illinois lost the most jobs in the country in July, and unemployment numbers have been increasing for the last three months. Since the beginning of the year, 89,000 people have left the work force. Why? Because instead of cutting spending and reforming wealth redistribution, the Democrat Governor and Democrat Legislature increased taxes by a good bit in January: 46% increase on business taxes and a 66% increase on personal income tax. Do the math and say, “ouch”. By the way, no Republicans voted for it, as none were needed due to the Democrat super-majority of both houses of legislature. Does that sound familiar?

In short, the BBC is still censoring news that doesn’t support their Narrative on the US economy. And Mark Mardell is a dishonest broker of news on US issues.

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5 Responses to BBC Censorship And The Economic Delusions Of Mark Mardell

  1. john in cheshire says:

    It’s a pity that we don’t have any satirical programmes on TV any more. If the Spitting Image type show were to be revived, the bbc is ripe for being ridiculed week after week.


  2. Span Ows says:

    Illinois…a certain president’s state? Another reason to ignore it from Mardell’s point of view.

    P:S: MM didn’t say which Monday… 😉


  3. ltwf1964 says:

    there is one bright spot in Mardell being in the US

    he’s obviously keeping the fast food sector afloat all by himself,the fat useless knacker that he is


  4. Andrew says:

    I wonder if Mardell declares a second income as part of the Obama 2012 campaign team?

    Mardell seems very clear to be playing to the established narrative that is part of the campaign for tackling Perry:

    Once again, more classic Alinsky techniques of picking off individuals one by one.  Within the foundation of Mardell’s piece (i.e. that very iffy source link) is an aspect of critical theory that uses multiple arguments as justifcation of their point, even if for one of them to be true, the other cannot.

    One particular example being entertained is that there is no miracle as see here with Mardell creating the idea it is misdirection designed to fool outsiders.  At the same time, many of the same critics are saying that there is a miracle, but that it is down to the growth in federal govt operations in the state.  So it isn’t happening at the same time that it is (but only due to the federal govt) – good one that.

    Then they also like to point out the low wages being paid.  David has pointed out an excellent post shooting many criticisms down including that particular meme.  What many using the low wage argument are doing are bundling in some of the lowest educational attainment in the nation to a slew of critiques against Perry.  None of them stop to ask one thing – if the low wage arguement were true is there not a correlation between that and the poor graduation rate.  What business (apart from a govt one) pay functionally illiterate individuals above average wage?

    As David mentions however, the is the very real silence on those states employing similar regulatory and tax frameworks to Texas which are beginning to outperform those going down the tax and spend route.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Agreed.  Althought the Alinsky tactic is coming from the top: the President Himself.  Mardell is just doing his acolyte’s duty and following along.

      While there’s probably a local Texas argument to have about whether or not it’s a good thing that the state is creating jobs for people moving in but not enough for the long-time residents, it’s still wrong to say that there is no Texas miracle because of the unemployment figures.  And anyways, people moving in for these jobs are generally not going to be illegal aliens who live 20 to a room and send the bulk of their income back home to build a small hacienda for their family in Guatemala.  They spend locally and boost the economy. Net benefit for Texas.  The BBC is not reporting just how many people are leaving California and New York because of the flip-side of that coin.  We’ve lost two Congressional districts, FFS.  Silence from the BBC about all of that.

      What the BBC is doing is very one-sided, and simply does not provide any context in which to understand what’s actually going on in the country.  So it’s impossible for the reader to make any kind of judgment about what’s working and what isn’t, or who might have a good idea about anything.  Mardell’s post is an attack piece, using the anti-Perry talking points the PoliticalMath guy lists practically verbatim.  The reporting from the BBC on the US economy has been and continues to be dishonest.

      The biggest problem of all is that Mardell is focused exclusively on politics, on what affects the President at that moment.  It’s not possible to get any kind of reasonable understanding of an entire country that way.  The political scene is not the whole story of a country.  His colleagues generally do the same thing when they’re not doing puff pieces and heart-warming human interest stories or a dishonest series about immigrants.