In an era where fake news is like a virus, media organisations need to be very careful that they are not adding fuel to the bonfire of fantasies. Even with the best of intentions journalists should be wary of arguing that government data is dishonest – such as recent suggestions that the real unemployment rate is much higher than what the ABS would have us believe....
But there is no one measure that tells the whole story.
We should ensure our coverage reflects that. There is nothing wrong with creating new labour force measures, but we should be very wary of dismissing the official rates as dishonest.
Doing so only serves to reduce people’s confidence in the impartiality of the ABS. And we should discourage anything that would give succour to politicians – such as Trump – who seek to undermine institutions by suggesting any data inconvenient to their policies is fake.