David Stacey

It’s the Economist, Stupid

by David Stacey The Economist is, after the BBC, arguably the most influential media organisation in the U.K. With a combined digital and print circulation of over 1.5m (50% in the US), its readership includes many global leaders and policy makers. Founded in 1843, the historically liberal Economist, which describes itself as occupying “the extreme centre”, portrays itself as having little reporting bias, prides itself on knowing where Africa is and bringing a global perspective to world events. The Economist has led the way too in data journalism and analysis, being one of the first publications to establish its own dedicated data team. With its data analysts, its unquestionably talented writers and economically literate worldwide readership the Economist was surely well placed to rise above the global Covid hysteria and rigorously pursue its masthead ambition of “taking part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress”. From the start, however, it has, along with the rest of the legacy media, been consumed by an ostensibly virtuous but myopic fixation on “death with Covid” mortality figures to the exclusion of all else – at the same time, as Andrew Lewis observed in a letter to the magazine on July 24th 2021, portraying those who oppose lockdowns as “crackpots motivated by conspiracy theories”....

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