Monday, June 16, 2008

How journalists miss the point and spin the facts

A great example is in today's Age, where Michelle Grattan shows signs of stupidity with her article "Rudd urged to act on fuel". The opening paragraph boldly, but falsely claims that:

MOST voters are dissatisfied with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's handling of petrol prices and people are overwhelmingly calling for Government intervention, an Age/Nielsen poll has revealed.

In fact, reading the actual results of the polling shows the exact opposite.
Voters don't want a government intervention to address high petrol prices. They actually want less government intervention, and a reduction in taxes !
Fifty-six per cent were critical of Mr Rudd's performance on petrol, with 78% declaring the Government should act. Of those wanting something done, 67% said the Government should cut the fuel tax and only 22% preferred Labor's controversial proposed price-monitoring FuelWatch scheme.

There you have it. And even the tax-eaters in our government acknowledge that less government action, notably by foreign governments who subsidise their petrol, can help solve problems:
Mr Tanner said it was important for Australia to put pressure on other countries in the region to remove subsidies that distorted the choices people made, reducing the extent to which they moved into other technology.

So why won't The Age ever publish an article headline saying "Government ought to get out of the way on fuel" or "Rudd urged to cut taxes on fuel" ?

Because they wouldn't want us plebs to get the wrong idea and lose faith in communism. It is often said that the cure for high prices is high prices. Markets will adjust and reallocate, people will cutback their consumption of fuel one way or another.

The Age don't want people catching on to the reality that markets can solve problems and governments can only make them worse.