Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Last few comments

I promise not to write about the American elections throughout Tuesday. No point, really, Over here we shall have no results before Wednesday, in any case, and if predictions are correct, we might carry on chewing our fingernails till well into Thursday or, God forbid, even after.

However, let me leave you with a few thoughts about the way news have been handled on this side of the Pond, which includes Britain and Europe. Der Spiegel is tying itself into knots, which is very pleasant to watch. No matter who wins, America will lose, they cry, as it has been destroyed by "total capitalism". One could say that even in its bleak hours, America is doing better than Europe that does not have "total capitalism" but I suspect Der Spiegel knows that.

American power had declined, they add in another article though why it should have done so under the great and wonderful President Obama is hard to tell. But, never fear, their coverage is even-handed. Why they even have an article about what Romney's foreign policy might be. Of course, it is really an interview with President Clinton's less than successful Secretary of State, Madeleine Allbright, but one can't have everything. Specifically, one can't have an interview with Condi Rice about Obama's existing foreign policy.

Interestingly enough, my friend Michel Gurfinkiel writes about exactly that, though with reference to the French media.
“Yesterday, we followed Barack Obama’s campaign,” a young woman [on RTL, one of France's main radio channels] said. “Today we turn to Mitt Romney’s campaign.” All right. Except that “following Romney’s campaign” amounted, incredibly, to an interview with a certain Dr. Gordon, who explained that most Americans were grateful to President Obama for having introduced Obamacare. Especially those women who otherwise would have been deprived of any access to birth control. Some journalist at RTL then explained that Romney would abolish Obamacare. And the report was over.
They don't even notice, he adds and neither does the public. (I may say the same thing about the British media and the British public who are astonished that anyone could be so mad, insane and evil as to support a challenger to Obama.) Gurfinkiel gives an interesting and accurate analysis for this ridiculous adoration of a highly incompetent incumbent:
Sympathy for Obama is rooted in the deepest layers of the French collective psyche, right and left. He is supposed to stand for a tame, less dominant, less assertive America; and France, like many other former great powers — from Russia to China, from the Hispanic realms to the Islamic Umma — is driven by resentment against Anglo-Saxon dominance at large, and American great power in particular. That was, after all, Charles de Gaulle’s core political legacy (much more than the need to tame Germany) and the not-so-secret rationale for his Faustian alliance with both communism (Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese) and Islam. In the 1960s, when de Gaulle actually presided over France, a sizable part of the French opinion understood that a powerful America had in fact helped France to be reborn, to remain free in the face of communism, and even to become a great power again (just like Germany or Japan). That current never materialized into a sustaining political force, however, and it gradually ebbed away.
He then explains what exactly motivates this French psyche, how journalists abide by it and why it has become so all-encompassing. Read the whole piece.

Finally, we come to our own BBC. Well, OK, not all our media is quite as bad as the BBC but this one really takes the biscuit. In all solemnity they published an article by the old-style Marxist Martin Jacques, erstwhile editor of Marxism Today and at present "a visiting senior research fellow at the London School of Economics, IDEAS, a centre for the study of international affairs, diplomacy and grand strategy. He is also a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and a fellow of the Transatlantic Academy, Washington DC". Oddly enough, the BBC does not see fit to mention this, especially not the position in Beijing.

His "point of view" is that China is more democratic than America but it is framed as a question, which is described even by John Rentoul (not someone on the right of the political spectrum) as being the best QTWTAIN he has come across for a long time.

It would appear that Mr Jacques has been giving a whole series of talks published on the BBC websites in which he has proved to his own and his masters' satisfaction that the Chinese government enjoys greater legitimacy than any Western elected one and there is greater satisfaction with its performance as described by people who are not allowed to criticize the party. (The last phrase is my own.)

I would expect nothing else from and old-time Marxist propagandist. Sadly, I probably expect nothing else from the BBC either.


  1. I would give quite a lot for our nation to be "destroyed" by total capitalism as it looks far more desirable than being "rebuilt" by forward-looking progressive social democrats.

  2. Trouble is their 'total capitalism' is at best 'crony capitalism' and more often 'forward-looking progressiveness'...

  3. In Italy the coverage is unsurprisingly equally skewed - the only possible winner is Obama and Romney is portrayed as some kind of monster or at best a rather evil man. I'm no great fan of Romney, I think he will be a less bad president than Obama, but I'd certainly love to see one in the eye for these people who, like the BBC, seem not to appreciate the extent of their instinctive bias.

    Unfortunately it looks like Obama will win anyway, as his four year long relection campaign enters its final hours with hollywood releasing their paean of praise for his presidential killing of Osama (presuming he wasn't dead beforehand) and even mother bloody nature obliges with a storm to keep Romney off the airwaves for the best part of the last week of the campaign...

    1. I won a quid 4 years ago by predicting that Obama would win. This time around, using the same US sources (ie the blogosphere) as last time, I'd put my money on Romney.

    2. Oh well, I would have lost that quid. :(

  4. At the moment I am too depressed to blog but shall do after lots of coffee and some good hard work in the front garden, bagging leaves. :(

    1. A few silver linings worth reading:


  5. Thank you. Dan Mitchell is always worth reading.