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Monday 23 July 2012

Anatomy Of EU Budget Churnalism

The EU Budget for 2013 has been decided – or maybe not, as the vote has not yet been taken, and the customarily loaded reporting is confused as to what is actually happening, although the Europhobic tendency of the Fourth Estate is agreed that those dastardly Eurocrats are coming after our taxpayers money and poor brave Brtiain is powerless to stop the cash grab.

As usual, the facts are more mundane and not quite as presented. Moreover, this story is an excellent example of churnalism: as fascinating as the appallingly bad research in the original report is the blatant lifting of the story by at least two other papers. But, as usual, let’s start at the very beginning, as it’s a very good place to start. And that leads us to the Telegraph.

Here, Patrick Hennessy – the same hack that recycled an old (and totally discredited) item from the Guido Fawkes blog recently – has asserted that the budget will be increased by 2.8% (actually 2.79%, but he’s close enough) and that the UK cannot resist it, although it will vote against. But then he tells that “anything bigger would have been blocked by bigger countries that are ‘net contributors’”.

Then he mentions Germany and France. But the UK is also a net contributor. Why, then, are we powerless to block the budget while other net contributors are not? The impression of poor research is merely compounded when Hennessy claims “Britain is the second biggest net contributor to the EU after Germany, ahead of France and Italy”. No it isn’t: we’re fourth in absolute terms, behind the French and Italians.

Moreover, in per capita terms, the UK is only the seventh largest net contributor, with Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands all contributing more. So once again the former paper of record is indulging in poorly researched and slanted journalism. And what makes it worse is that other papers with similar agendas have taken Hennessy’s rubbishy copy and just churned it over.

The obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Daily Mail has bought the Hennessy line wholesale, telling of an “Unstoppable” budget rise and obediently recycling quotes from Tory MPs suggesting this is some kind of zero sum game by which we are trading thousands of soldiers or nurses just so that rotten Eurocrats can have plush new offices (they are always “plush” at the very least).

And bringing up the rear – to no surprise at all – is the bargain basement band at the Desmond press, with the Express thundering “Stitched Up ... Britain Is Forced To Pay Extra £350M To Bankroll EU”. As before, readers are given the impression that this all goes on a new office block in Luxembourg (which suits the Express agenda more than grumbling that it also goes on projects like Bozza’s cable car).

Pisspoor journalism unquestioningly churned over. No change there, then.

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