Everybody knows that The Economist is a silly piece of trash. There are, however, gradations in the degree of trashiness a magazine can achieve, and The Economist has chosen to climb to the top of the competition as to who manages to produce the crappiest piece of so-called journalism. In the past couple of years, it has become a virulent mouth-piece of the Tea Party. Given that the Tea Partiers' knowledge of the economy is limited to the painfully stupid insistence that running a huge country's economy is just like balancing a household budget, the name of this magazine has become even more of a joke than it used to be.
Now The Economist decided to contribute on the events in Wisconsin. It published an article titled "that defies belief in its blatant manipulation of facts, horrible written style, and the number of ridiculous lies.
Take, for example, the following asseveration:
The private sector is dominated by competition and turbulence. Performance-related pay is the norm, and redundancy commonplace. The public sector, by contrast, is a haven of security and stability. Many people have jobs for life and performance measures are rare. The result is a paradox: the typical public worker is better off than the people he is supposed to serve, and the gap has widened significantly over the past decade.
As a professor at a state university, I obviously work in the public sector and can say that this is the most egregious lie I have encountered in a while. I have just gone through an Annual Merit review which has revealed that the folder of materials I have accumulated in the past calendar year to provide accountability for my scholarly and educational activities is still insufficient and has to be reworked. Which is the reason why I am at work today, even though I don't have to be. "Performance measures" (and what a clumsy, unintelligent verbal construction this is!) take place all the time. I am expected to account for pretty much every breath I take.
Tea Partiers often accuse the progressives of being envious of the fortunes of the ultra-rich. This article demonstrates that it's the other way round: Conservatives go out of their way to stoke envy towards the public sector employees who are so much better off than everybody else in this quasi-journalist's diseased imagination. As a result, we the spoiled public sector brats are warned not to rely on the truly hard-working people's sympathies (like we ever did):
Now that the sovereign-debt crisis is forcing governments to put their houses in order, the growing discrepancy between conditions in the public and private sectors has eroded much of the sympathy public-sector workers might once have enjoyed.
Note once again the meaningless cliche-ridden verbiage that is aimed at introducing patent untruths as some kind of God-given truths known to everybody. Of course, not a shred of proof is offered for a single statement. Who needs proof when your only goal is to make the stupid readers envy and hate the stinky rich public school teachers?
Of course, the real goal of the article becomes clear pretty soon: demonizing the unions is the order of the day among Conservatives. In case you were wondering who or what caused the current economic crisis, The Economist is here for you to provide the answer: the mean, horrible unions.
Public-sector workers earn, on average, a third more than their private-sector counterparts. Left-leaning economists reply that public-sector workers are, on average, better educated. Whatever the merits of this argument, three things seem clear. Unions have suppressed wage differentials in the public sector. They have extracted excellent benefits for their members. And they have protected underperforming workers from being sacked.
Once again, there is not a shred of proof that I, a non-unionized public sector employee, will not be sacked faster than I can say "retention Review" in case I underperform. But who needs proof when you can have propaganda instead. As Dr. Goebbels used to say, in order to be believed, a lie should be grandiose. That guy definitely knew a thing or two about grandiose lies, and today's print journalists are learning these strategies as fast as they can nowadays.
Here is an example of The Economist's egregious instance of lying:
Governments tend to give their workers light workloads and generous pensions in lieu of higher wages (which have to come out of the current budget). In America teachers teach for a mere 180 days a year.
As one of those teachers who don't teach between the months of may and August, I can't fail to be shocked by the gall of a journalist who conveniently forgets to add that while I don't teach in those months, I also don't get paid. Even though I still do massive research, prepare classes, and even talk to students in need of my help.
This so-called journalist seems to be unable to write a single sentence that isn't a complete and utter lie. take the following asseveration, for example:
Public-sector unions combine support for higher spending with vigorous opposition to more accountability. Almost everywhere they have demonised competition, transparency and flexible pay.
At my university, we don't account for our teaching-related expenses any more. We don't account for them for one simple reason: our funding has been completely frozen. last year, I spent $878 of my own money on buying supplies for my classes: DVDs, office supplies, etc. Of course, I could have spared myself that expense and just used the textbook and nothing else. But, a greedy, spoiled public sector leech that I am, I chose to spend my own money in order to give my students what the university is refusing to. And no, I didn't render account of the money I spent to anybody because it was my own money.
The Economist wouldn't fulfill its role of kissing corporate asses until its lips are blue if it didn't extol the virtues of the corporate model that is presented in this article as so fantastic that it might even deserve sainthood:
The rigidity of the public sector does not merely reduce the quality of services. It also discourages innovation. In the private sector innovative firms routinely experiment with new business models, measure the success of those models and then expand successful ones. But whenever public-sector managers have tried to do the same—by establishing magnet schools that focus on certain subjects, or charter schools with longer teaching days, for example—the unions have opposed them.
I could ask, of course, how much experience in teaching this idiot who can barely write a sentence has had in order to pass judgments on what constitutes innovative teaching, but there is no point. Print journalism is dying. Newspapers and magazines published by irresponsible, lazy, uneducated quacks are being displaced by free access blog and websites that offer intelligent analysis and good writing to the readers. I hope The Economist, a magazine that charges extremely high subscription rates in return for this uninformed drivel, goes out of business soon. And good riddance, too.