Times vs. Telegraph: The war of Brown's recession

When it comes to the prospects for recession, the whitetop business sections are polarizing rapidly.

At the Telegraph, Ambose Evans-Pritchard appears to be wandering around wearing a sandwich board engraved with the words: “End Of The World Is Nigh”.

By the looks of it, Evans-Pritchard has written his message in copperplate outline and then coloured in the individual characters.

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No, more than that. He has painstakingly cross-hatched them, like this.

The problem with Evans-Pritchard is his wide eyes. It’s all just a bit too breathless. Jeff Randall, of course, is a bit different. But even he is talking about a looming social catastrophe driven by household debt.

Meanwhile, the headlines at the Telegraph’s business section headlines include the following: “US economy grinds to a halt” and “Black day for UK economy”. There’s a definite line being enforced here.

And at the Times?

Anatole Kaletsky, economics correspondent, suggests that we ignore the stock market’s impersonation of a whore’s drawers. (Sorry, that’s twice in one week we’ve used that expression.)

All will be well, Kaletsky suggests, because the broader economy is “protected by self-stabilising mechanisms that are much more powerful than the reflexive boom-bust behaviour of financial markets”.

On top of that, here’s business editor James Harding — the man himself — suggesting that we’re in danger of talking down the housing market. Relax, he suggests, it’s just a correction. Not a crash. Really.

Oh, and we loved this bit: “The US economy has a mysterious ability to right itself, particularly in a presidential election year. . . “

The dichotomy between the Telegraph and the Times is striking. In Victoria, they’ll soon want credit for calling the biggest recession since the 1920s.

At Wapping, there’s a curious sense of civic duty on the City desk. They’re doing what they can to talk down the prospects of a recession. Gordon Brown and Mervyn King will no doubt be grateful.

The FT, since you ask, is heavily inclined toward bearish at the moment. Then again, its perspective is global (ie: US-centric).



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