Tag Archives: greece

Syriza Wins in Greece: NYT and WSJ Still Get Their Re-Writes Wrong

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: January 26, 2015

I wrote a column Sunday, January 25, 2015 as the Greek election results became sufficiently clear to know that Syriza was receiving a strong plurality from the voters and as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal posted on their websites the first reaction news columns. I criticized the dishonest nature of both paper’s coverage (actually non-coverage) of what austerity inflicted on the Greek people. Both of those initial columns have now been modified, so I have looked to see whether they improved their candor in their re-writes. The updated NYT column still contains this clunker.

“Syriza’s victory is a milestone for Europe. Continuing economic weakness has stirred a populist backlash from France to Spain to Italy, with more voters growing fed up with policies that require sacrifice to meet the demands of creditors but that have not delivered more jobs and prosperity.”

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Syriza Wins and the NYT and WSJ Coverage Competes for Mendacity

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: January 25, 2015

The Wall Street Journal and the New York Time’s eurozone reporters, who share the same unshakable devotion to TINA and austerity as the Murdochized WSJ news staff have been thrown into a panic by Syriza’s electoral successes in Greece.

Both papers are freaked out, as are the Germans, about the potential for Greece to spark a wave of rejections of the troika’s infliction of austerity in a manner similar to how the infliction of self-destructive austerity programs pursuant to the Washington Consensus’ demands led to the “lost decade” and the democratic election of what is now over a dozen Latin American candidates running on anti-austerity platforms. The Washington Consensus was drafted and named by an economist at Pete Peterson’s International Institute. Peterson is a Wall Street billionaire whose mission is causing debt and deficit hysteria and plugging the joys of austerity and unraveling the safety nets. His greatest goal is privatizing Social Security – producing hundreds of billions in additional fees for Wall Street.

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The NYT Gives S&M Advice to the Greeks: Stand by Your Sadist

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: January 24, 2015

The New York Times’ coverage of the eurozone crisis remains execrable. Sometimes, however, it is so bad that it achieves brilliant, albeit unintentional self-parody.” The latest example is a column that, for the NYT, is in the top 5% of its efforts on Europe. Even at its best (least worst) the paper cannot help itself.

The January 23, 2015 column is entitled “After an Anxiety-Filled Campaign, Greek Voters Consider a Turn to the Left.” It does admit that Greece’s economic condition is horrific.

“After five years in which the country’s economy has shrunk by 25 percent and the number of jobless has risen far beyond what its creditors ever predicted….”

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The BBC and the Economist Combine to Try to Defeat Syriza

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: January 20, 2015

As the Greek election nears, the mainstream media is ramping up its efforts to attack Syriza. As I have often explained, the trauma caused by the Washington Consensus’ economic malpractice in inflicting austerity on Latin America led to the election of a substantial number of leaders opposed to austerity and the troika’s infliction of austerity may lead to a similar dynamic in the EU. The BBC and The Economist agree that this could occur – and it terrifies them. A January 19, 2015 BBC article, presented as news rather than opinion, is entitled “BBC Democracy Day: Europe ‘faces political earthquakes.”

The article abounds in unintentional self-parody. First, the article admits austerity is a major driver of the “political earthquakes.” For reasons that pass all understanding the BBC hired the Economist’s “Intelligence Unit” to write what any right-wing BBC columnist would have written for no additional fee. Given that the Economist is one of the entities most culpable for the economic malpractice of inflicting austerity on the eurozone the idea that it is good journalism for them to opine about their opponents is sad or laughable depending on how one responds to absurdity.

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The Triumph of Radical Right Economics in Greece – At the Hands of “Socialists”

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: January 19, 2015

In my January 18, 2015 column, I explained that German Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s sweetest triumph was successfully extorting George Papandreou, Greece’s Prime Minister, head of the Greek Socialist Movemnt (PASOK), and President of the Socialist International, to inflict austerity and a war on workers’ wages on the Greek people.  I quoted a passage from the Papandreou administration’s  May 3, 2010, “Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies” (the Papandreou Plan) agreeing to the European Commission’s (EC) austerity and anti-worker demands that was made part of The EC’s  Occasional Papers No. 61 “The Economic Adjustment Programme for Greece” (May 2010).

In this column I explain how radically right-wing the Papandreou Plan was and the completeness with which it embraced rather than resisted the troika’s theoclassical nostrums that forced Greece, Italy, and Spain into gratuitous second Great Depressions.  In Greece’s case, the Merkel Great Depression has proven more severe and longer in duration than the Great Depression of 80 years ago.  The EC’s Economic Adjustment Programme for Greece description of the Papandreou Plan was accurate.  The Greek leaders “strongly own and support the [austerity] programme policies and objectives.”

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The New York Times Fears that Syriza Will Put “Ordinary Greeks First”

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: January 18, 2015

Even when the New York Times seems to think it is trying to open minded about the troika’s infliction of austerity on the peoples of the eurozone, its reporters are infected by the bizarre notion that austerity was the economically sensible response to the Great Recession. Even more bizarrely they are infected with the view that more austerity is the sensible response to the worse-than-Great Depressions that austerity inflicted on Greece, Italy, and Spain. The latest installment is entitled “Party Leader’s Populist Pitch in Greece Could Pay Off.”

The article does not explain what a “populist pitch” is (other than alliterative string of four plosives in a single title). The mainstream press uses “populist” as a pejorative term synonymous with class warfare against the wealthy that ignores economic reality.

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The Wall Street Journal and the Troika Fear they Have Not Adequately Terrorized Greece

By William K. Black
Washington DC: January 6, 2015

I’ve written recently about the embarrassing nature of the New York Times’ coverage of Greece (and the eurozone more generally), so it is time to describe the even more appalling coverage by the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ has published a series of articles that contain facts that demonstrate how self-destructive the troika’s infliction of austerity has been to the eurozone, but those articles do not express that conclusion.

Worse, the WSJ publishes a steady dose of articles by Simon Nixon that are presented (at least on the web where I read them) as if they were news articles. Nixon’s job title with the paper is “Chief European Commentator,” but that title is not stated in the series of recent articles about Greece and the eurozone. He appears to have a B.A. in History and once worked as an investment banker. I assume that the WSJ’s defense of his columns is that he is a “commentator” rather than a reporter of the news though on the web I see no indication that readers are warned that they are not reading a news article.

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Greece, the Troika, and the New York Times

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: December 29, 2014

As I have explained in prior articles, there is an excellent chance that the Troika’s infliction of austerity on the eurozone’s periphery could, as with the austerity inflicted under the Washington Consensus continue to produce such long-term rolling recessions that it creates a political dynamic that discredits such economic malpractice and brings to power leaders elected on the promise that they will adopt economically literate policies. The first case of this in the eurozone could be Greece. (Hollande won office on a platform of opposing inflicting austerity on France, but purged his government of those that most strongly opposed austerity and implemented policies that moved increasingly toward austerity. The French economy stagnated and Hollande’s approval ratings are dismal.)

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Tough Love. Freight Train Style.

By Stephanie Kelton

President Obama, who met with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at the White House yesterday, is reported to have said that while Athens can’t rely exclusively on austerity for its economic recovery, it will need to take tough action:

It is important that we have a plan for fiscal consolidation, to manage the debt, but it is also important that growth and jobs are a focus,” said President Obama.

I think Prime Minister Samaras is committed to taking the tough actions that are required, but also, understandably, wants to make sure the Greek people see a light at the end of the tunnel.

The Greek people have already seen household incomes fall by a third as a consequence of three years of “tough action.” Unemployment stands at nearly 28 percent, and youth unemployment is a staggering 64.9 percent. A quarter of the population has trouble putting food on the table, public health is deteriorating, suicide is up 26 percent, etc. Worst of all, there’s no end in sight.

The Greeks have served as Guinea Pigs in the most vile neoliberal macroeconomic experiment in modern history. From where I’m sitting, that light at the end of the tunnel looks like just another oncoming freight train.

Follow Stephanie on twitter @deficitowl

Greece and the Rest of the Eurozone Remain on the Road to Hell

By Marshall Auerback

So for the short term, it appears we won’t have a “Grexit”, which has led many commentators to suggest (laughably) that a crisis has been averted. Typical of this sentiment is a headline in Bloomberg today  “Greece avoids chaos; Big Hurdles Loom”. To paraphrase Pete Townsend, meet the new chaos, same as the old chaos. It is worth pondering how acceptance of the Troika’s program (even if cosmetic adjustments are made) will help hospitals get access to essential medical supplies (see here), whilst the government persists in enforcing a program which is killing its private sector by cutting spending and not paying legitimate bills, and an unemployment rate creeps towards 25 per cent and 50 per cent for youth.  Continue reading