In light of the upcoming UK referendum, I thought it would be fun to look up just how much influence the media has in situations like this. It turns out the European Commission(executive body of the European Union) keeps an online archive of various myths and outright lies that have been propagated by the British media over the past two decades.
There are some amazing ones in there:
This is utter rubbish. It is inconceivable that the EU ever could – or would want to – restrict people from drinking as much coffee as they like.
As part of the ongoing assessment of whether the claims about caffeine should be permitted, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was asked to analyse the safety of different levels of caffeine intake. It concluded that regular caffeine consumption up to 400mg per day – perhaps four strong cups of coffee – do not raise safety concerns for non-pregnant adults.
Or how about cake?
Orders to destroy competition cakes have not been baked-up by Brussels’ bureaucrats. The “new” EU food hygiene legislation has been applied throughout the UK from 1 January 2006. The rules apply to “food businesses” – and not those events held by the Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes, or any other local church, school or village fair, where food is prepared occasionally.
Have a gander yourselves: http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/ECintheUK/euromyths-a-z-index/
After reading a few dozens of these, it became pretty clear that the EU and EC have very little power in matters where states don't agree. So the question is; why are the media allowed to propagate lies, without issuing statements of correction(as they refrained from doing in quite a few of the cases above)?
Wanna go Double Dutch?
9th December 2003
The EU gets very little done if the member states don't come to an agreement via either the council (in which all member states are represented by the administration of their own country) or via the EU parlaiment. That's also one of the reasons why it's wheels turn so slowely, lots of discussion on rather minor things. Some small changes are proposed to better suit the demand of one country, but then an other member protests and they keep on going back and forth untill a very watered down version of some proposal is accepted, scrapt or if some states opt out. Little legislation os shoved down the throads of the member states without those states having agreed on said legislation, but hey it's easy of a national administration can get away with such silly excuses. Blame Brussels!
And the media? Lots of copy/pasting going on there these days. Have to be the first to print something in the paper or on the website. Just copy a press release, perhaps rephrase it a bit an on to the next article...
Edit: I remember one example concerning something that happend here about 2 years ago. I can't recall what it was about though, I thing some sort of fee or tax (??) Anyway the Dutch administration announced some sort of raise from say 15% to 20% regarding some sort of cost or tax. People were upset, the prime minister blamed it on Brussels. Only a bit later one single newspaper made clear that the EU legislation that our PM blamed for this actually allowed for figures between 15% and 20% (since member states could not agree on an exact number, so they were given some room to manouvre with). The Dutch could have kept things as they were but used this EU legislation as an excuse to raise the number to 20%.. The Hague probably knew people would not be amused but they blamed Brussels and got away with it...
Aye, politicians love to spin it in any direction they can, as long as they avoid blame.
I also just learned of something else; of the four countries in the European Union(Ireland, the UK, Denmark, and Poland), both Poland and the UK opted out of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. I imagine they mostly took issues with the fourth(Solidarity), fifth(Citizen's Rights), and sixth(Justice) articles of the charter. Still a curious thing.
Mister Angry Rules Guy
31st January 2010
The best thing you can do is to not pay any attention to the media. Let's not forget that news story about David Cameron ranting over teenagers having anal sex, and thought it was important enough to write an article about.
(That actually is a real article. Google that.)
Teenagers having anal sex is more important than the economic stability of the EU? Yeah. The media has no clue what they are doing, and have no credibility in anything.