Times spins bank chief’s EU speech to pressure Cameron

Why did the paper change the angle of their web story for print?

 

The papers are awash today with Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s speech on the European Union in relation to the UK economy.

Most of them provide a balanced summary of his remarks, either leading on his saying membership of the EU had made the British economy more dynamic or his caution about the influence of the Eurozone and caps on bankers’ bonuses, depending on the politics of the newspapers.

However, it’s clear from the speech and reports that he was very positive overall about British membership of the EU.

With the pathetic exception of the Daily Express, the paper most hostile to Europe, which doesn’t even cover the speech in print today, the award for most heavily spun coverage goes to the Times.

Not content with leading with the rainclouds, the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper adds some political lobbying for good measure:

Bank chief demands protection from eurozone bullies

David Cameron must use his renegotiating of the UK’s membership of the EU to find a way of stopping eurozone countries ganging up on Britain, the governor of the Bank of England said yesterday.”

It goes on: ‘Mark Carney made clear that the European Union had made Britain richer, more successful and more dynamic, in a major intervention ahead of an in/out referendum.

‘However, he put pressure on the prime minister to deliver concrete protections when the interests of the 19 eurozone countries, which dominate EU voting mechanisms, conflict with those of nations such as Britain that have maintained an independent currency.’

Whether he put pressure on the prime minister is subjective. Simply by discussing the issue he could be said to have put pressure on the PM.

But the claim that Carney said ‘David Cameron must’ do this or that in negotiations, as stated in the introduction, is not supported by the evidence of the speech.

The intro is notable for another reason. The same story, published on the Times website at midnight, has a different headline and introduction:

:Carney in Times

Europe has made Britain richer, says Bank governor

The European Union has made Britain richer, more successful and more dynamic, the governor of the Bank of England said last night.

In a major intervention before the planned in/out referendum, Mark Carney put pressure on David Cameron to use his renegotiation of Britain’s membership of the EU to find a way of stopping eurozone countries ganging up on the UK.”

Comparing the two versions, it’s clear that either the web version was changed to be more accurate, or the print version was jazzed up to put the baseless part at the top.

Either way, both versions are misleading – the web version carries the subjective ‘put pressure on’ angle, adding that Carney ‘urged the prime minister to deliver concrete protections’, again not supported by the speech.

Amusingly, the Times has since run a story online about ‘Out’ campaigner Lord Lawson and others accusing Carney of… intervening in the EU debate. Naturally, the Times wouldn’t stand for such behaviour.

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Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

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