felix in comments points out in his usual sarcastic style about the media response on Don Brash’s 2025 Taskforce report.
For example, consider this online poll (tvnz):
What do you think of Don Brash’s 2025 Taskforce financial report?
- It’s too radical
- It’s about right
- It doesn’t go far enough
All the questions imply some degree of agreement with the general direction of the proposals.
Strange that ‘It’s completely arse-backwards’ and ‘It’s insulting to my intelligence’ or ‘It’s been tried and failed’ don’t get a look in, eh?
I know it’s just a meaningless online poll but it more or less represents the framing of the discussion across most of the media.
From what I’ve seen, this comment is pretty accurate. The lack of any balance in the quoted online ‘poll’ will probably be quoted by the news with the mild qualification of it not being ‘scientific’. I’ll say that it is worse than that – it is fraudulent. They have done the old classic of making the poll come out the way they wish by framing both the question and the possible responses.
However the problem in the media is more systemic than that. As Marty G pointed out yesterday.
Incredibly the report provides no evidence that the slashing of public services, work rights, minimum wages, and taxes for the rich would have the desired effect. There’s no modelling, no forecasting, of what effects these changes would have on the economy. Are we simply meant to take Brash’s word and hand over the country to his failed ideas?
You get the impression that many in the media organizations have not bothered to read the detail of the ‘report’, preferring to cast their own interpretation on what they think it said. In all of the reporting to date, I personally haven’t seen a single article on how weak the report was. My view is that it was wishful set of thoughts with no detail apart from some rather selective comparisons with aussie. However it was reported as being authoritative and its summary has been all over the news..
The most extreme example that I saw was Granny Herald the other day on the front page. In its roles as the main cheerleader for the unproductive affluent, it was predictably wetting themselves on the front-page with the comparisons with aussie from the report. It then reported the conclusions of the taskforce. However no-one at the granny apparently thought that it was important to actually read the report detail and comment on the difference between its recommendations and how Australia got to its current position.
I’ll give the media a hint. Australia doesn’t and hasn’t used any policy in the rather extreme way that is in the Brash taskforce report. They use policies that are designed to help productive investments, raise exports, raise skills, and keep a high wage economy. They do this by maintaining a reasonably flexible political and economic framework that does not obsess on doctrinaire policies in the way that the Brash report did.
The taskforce report suggested what looks like a flashback to some rather rigid failed policies of the past. It does bugger all for the type of exporting economy that we need. It is hard to see in the report actual ways of focusing investment into productivity and R&D improvements for export based industries that I work in. These are areas where we are desperately short of capital and have been for decades.
However it appears that Brash et al think that productive business investment will happen by some form of magical economic osmosis. It hasn’t in the past from similar policies. The report doesn’t show me how it would if those policies are repeated. The mainstream media appear to believe in magic rather than analysis as they swallow this guff whole and regurgitate without bothering to engage the analytical side of their brains.
I’m sure we will get a better level of analysis as the economics and business commentators start to pick the report to pieces. However I suspect they are likely to ignore the daft taskforce report as being simply wishful thinking. I’d expect that they will concentrate on the more interesting report on the tax structure.
But you’d have to say that many (well almost all) of the mainstream media in immediate mode look as if they lack the skills to comment on anything more than celebrity relationships.