The media and influence of lobbying

Last week I blogged about the role of the media  in the Mumbai terror and Venice flood, as reported by De Volksrant. This time the role of De Volkskrant itself is being questioned, interestingly by one of its columnists: Frank Kalshoven. Every Saturday he writes an interesting political economy column on the Economy page entitled “Het spel en de knikkers”, literally meaning ‘the game and the marbles’. Kalshoven argues that the impact of the financial crisis on the Dutch economy and incomes is less dramatic than De Volkskrant is presenting. He also accuses De Volkskrant of falling for the lobby and self-interests of the building world.

On 10 December the newspaper opened with a screaming headline: “House sales collapsing”, reporting dropping sales of newly constructed housing and new housing construction, which is something different This was followed by a big story allowing builders, real estate agents and project developers to paint a dramatic picture. Support us, was their key message. Remarkably, even the association of homeowners joined the lobby, writes Kalshoven. But the diminishing of the new construction market increases the prices of the existing house. A pity for the builders, but good for the country, he argues. The effect of the financial crisis on the real economy is serious but not dramatic. But can the lamenting please stop? Frank’s email:frank@frankkalshoven.nl

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