2023-02-01 18:43:36

The Guardian view on economics in the media: poorly communicated, poorly understood

Logo The Guardian
The Guardian
By Editorial

The statistical football of this week was lobbed all the way from Washington. From its US headquarters, the International Monetary Fund predicted the UK would be the worst-performing major economy of the year, and the only one to plunge into recession. The news dominated BBC coverage and Westminster debate for the morning, a useful stick both to poke the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, and to gauge the bleakness of the outlook.

But why? Why a mere prediction, rather than an actual economic fact? Why the IMFs forecast, when it is usually wrong and there are already plenty of other projections that are, in fact, even more pessimistic? Most important of all, why fixate on GDP when the statistic bears no direct relation to most peoples daily lives, and a recent study funded by the Office for National Statistics showed that more than half of Britons dont even know what the term means?

Such questions go right to the heart of our media and politics, so the BBCs release this week of an independent review into its economics coverage is timely. Written by the economics experts Andrew Dilnot and Michael Blastland, the study is accessibly written and gentle but it makes damning reading, not only about the BBC but also about the wider media and political culture.

Continue read on theguardian.com

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