Digby flagged this segment from this Sunday's Fareed Zakaria GPS, and as she noted, Zakaria seems to be singing a very different tune now on whether austerity is popular with the masses in Europe than he was four years ago. And as she noted, being wrong never seems to get anyone kicked out of the club once you've gained entry as one of the Very Serious People by our corporate media.
Fareed Zakaria four years ago in a post called The Center Holds: In Britain even pain is popular":
Three weeks ago the new chancellor, 39-year-old Tory George Osborne, presented a budget that promised to get Britain’s fiscal house in order with sharp cuts in spending, coupled with tax increases. It landed in the midst of a heated debate across the industrialized world about how to best get the economy back on track. Osborne and his boss, Prime Minister David Cameron, have come down firmly on one side of this debate, hoping that a major effort to reduce the deficit will reassure bond markets and investors that Britain is a safe and compelling place to put their money.
Leaving aside the economics of this, what struck me as I spent time in Britain last week was the politics of deficit reduction. Having announced major cuts in popular programs, plus hefty tax increases, the Cameron government might be expected to be losing popularity by the day. But in fact the budget was well received by the public—though attacked ferociously from the left—and the governing coalition has actually inched up a bit in the polls.
There are several possible reasons for this. Cameron has played the public role of prime minister exceedingly well, making a pitch-perfect apology for the British Army’s wrongful use of force in Northern Ireland in 1972, and handling himself on the global stage with grace and ease. It’s also true, of course, that the effect of the cuts and taxes have not yet been felt, and when that happens, the government’s poll ratings might plunge. But clearly the honesty of the budget has resonated with voters.
It’s heartening to see a government do something that it must have thought would be deeply unpopular, and then be rewarded by the public...
I love this description of how he reacted to the commentary from his guests. Potted plant indeed:
Zakaria still rails against "entitlements" (which his earlier guest Stephen Haas described as a "cancer" to no objection from anyone) but he hasn't exactly come clean about the disastrous effects of the austerity measures in Europe that "heartened him" so strongly, has he? No, today he sits there like a potted plant while the bill of indictment rolls right over him.
But then he's a card-carrying Very Serious Person which means never having to say you're sorry.
Ain't that the truth? I don't always get a chance to watch all of his show every week, but I don't recall seeing him doing much to rebut that flawed economic study by Reinhart and Rogoff which the right has used to justify austerity as well. Most of our corporate media has done their best to ignore that, even as many of them, as Zakaria was here, have finally been forced to admit that maybe that whole push for austerity isn't working out so well.
Full transcript below the fold.