Being a central bank watcher, I make great use of the feature of the Reuters app for iPad that allows me to sort financial news by the “Central Bank” sub-category. It reduces the time it takes to filter out the “noise” and get to what I am looking for quickly.
But since I’ve been using it, I’ve noticed more than just a bit of editorializing, especially describing quantitative easing as “printing money out of thin air;” a quote in the last story I read that was my last straw.
A story about North Korea’s currency crisis by John Ruwitch and Ju-min Park was especially amusing:
Chinese currency and U.S. dollars are being used more widely than ever in North Korea instead of the country’s own money, a stark illustration of the extent to which the leadership under Kim Jong-un has lost control over the economy.
The use of dollars and Chinese yuan, or renminbi, has accelerated since a disastrous revaluation of the North Korean won in 2009 wiped out the savings of millions of people, said experts on the country, defectors and Chinese border traders…
Faith in the North Korean won crumbled when Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, ordered the sudden revaluation of the currency in November 2009.
The government chopped two zeroes off banknotes and limited the amount of old money that could be exchanged for new cash. The move, seen as an attack on private market activity at the time, spurred a rush to hold hard currency.
It also quickened inflation and according to South Korea’s spy agency, sparked rare civil unrest in one of the world’s most entrenched authoritarian states after North Koreans realised the won was not a safe store of value.
The government is widely believed to have executed the economic official who oversaw the revaluation.
North Korea is, as the authors state, “the world’s most entrenched authoritarian states;” a communist state where the concept of money is different than anywhere else in the world. It can’t lose control of an economy that it never had control over in the first place – the underground economy. And excuse me for pointing out that North Koreans participating in the underground economy have far more to worry about than the value of currency.
This story is just one extreme example of journalistic bias; one that demonstrates monetary radicalism translated into a complete absurdity. It’s particularly disquieting considering the position Reuters holds in the news story dissemination food chain, a major source of information for most of the major outlets. In the coming days I will be going through the pile of news stories reported by Reuters, including the names of the authors and the ‘offending’ remarks so everyone can see that the bias is completely out of control – certainly enough to really be annoying.