Suggestions that the media caused the current economic crisis are ‘laughable’, BBC Business editor Robert Peston told the Society of Editors (SoE) conference today.
And claims that the BBC or Peston himself broke Northern Rock – meaning the bank itself and not the story – are ‘total baloney’, he added.
“This isn’t a reason for us [the media] to be self-satisfied or complacent. The media in general, in news but also in features, were in a sense complicit in the canard that house prices can only rise,” said Peston.
“For years and years endless property programmes and supplements created the myth that houses were a one-way bet and debts never had to be repaid.”
But, he said, it would have been ‘very hard for journalists’ to stand in the way of huge economic forces and say the world economy was headed for crisis.
Speaking of his own experiences as a business journalist, Peston said he was fortunate to have learnt ‘how debt worked’ during time spent at Investors Chronicle.
“Most business journalists don’t have that, they’re obsessed with stock markets. I think all of us have to think about the knowledge that resides in our organisations,” he added.