Compare, compare, compare, we say, with our usual penchant for triple repetitions. In this case, we are talking about comparing news sources for info on the same story. For example, after our trip to Poland last year, we now read news about Poland with greater interest… okay, great interest. We had no interest at all in Poland until that trip.
We could pick a more controversial example, like Israel, but what we want to show here is how the media selects facts to fit ANY agenda.
So today, we read that the Poles have re-elected their previous Prime Minister, Donald Tusk. He’s heads what Reuters calls a center-right party. The Swiss newspaper, NZZ, calls it a liberal-conservative party. Furthermore, Reuters says Tusk’s party won “nearly 40 percent” of the vote. NZZ says it is 39.6 percent. It’s a little early to worry about a parliamentary majority, since the polls aren’t even closed yet as we write this.
In the Reuters piece, we read a rather confused description of the four or five major political parties and an equally confused summary of the economic situation – essentially they say Polish economy is stable, and then add a bunch of blah, blah, blah about debt ratios, growth rate of the Polish economy, etc.
“This is a vote for stability more than anything else… From a market standpoint, one of the key anchors of Poland’s creditworthiness has remained in place,” says Nicholas Spiro, head of London-based consultancy Spiro Sovereign Strategy. Do you hear a desperate effort to reassure markets?
NZZ has no such hesitation. Their survival depends on understanding reality. Not to say that NZZ doesn’t have an agenda, or some occasional flights from reality, just that their reputation for being “gnomes” is not undeserved.
They also give vote totals, economic situation, etc., but a key fact in the third paragraph jumped out at me that is totally missing from English-language coverage. Poland’s unemployment rate is more than 11 percent!
So, there you are. We can’t (or won’t) read the French or Spanish-language papers, because we don’t have the time, or language skill. But we think our point is made by comparing just two languages.
If any other readers would like to jump in with comments on other papers, we think that would be a good contribution to this discussion.