Tuesday, November 23, 2004

US elections & the British media

The US elections brought forth quite a spate of programmes on British TV.

First, Peter Hobart's on C4, a rather repetitive sneer at US democracy : the elections are decided by a small number of  voters and they are pig-ignorant; and there are vicious personal attacks. How unlike politics back home!

I preferred John Sutherland, on the revival of political pamphleteering in the US (FT magazine, 30 Oct) :
Violent argument is the essence of  vital democracy.
 To be taken rather more seriously was Jonathan Dimbleby's 'New World War' on ITV. This at least focused on the 'root causes',  such as the dire poverty in the world. In building his argument, Dimbleby interviews a couple of 'neo-conservatives', who say that the war on terror is being won, since terrorists are being killed or captured. It is  amusing to contrast this attempt to show that the neo-cons are minimizing the threat from terror with the much-trailed 'Power of Nightmares', which shows that the neo-cons have exaggerated, if not invented, the threat from terror; but in a sense it is not so important to show in what way the neo-cons are deluded, merely that they are deluded.

Somebody from the Middle East was interviewed and spoke about the corruption and lack of democracy, but Dimbleby kept harping away on the theme of poverty.

Update (24 Nov) : it was easy enough I dare say to find people in Beirut to say how much they hate America (as it would be in Paris or London, even) and then to make the usual point about how the war in Iraq has made this much, much worse. It would have been more interesting though to have asked members of the Shi'a community, including Fadlallah himself, what they think about Saddam Hussein's removal from power.

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