Wednesday, February 5
Almost Spot On: The British Critique of American Newspapers, by Christopher Deliso
Christopher Deliso in Kumanovo, Antiwar.com, February 5, 2003
As the war on Iraq draws ever closer, the vital issue of media coverage is becoming increasingly significant. The pace and pitch of the war will, after all, be partially shaped by its reception in the press.
Although the War Party in Washington has powerful weapons of PR and spin, in the end coverage will be produced by real live journalists, and their somewhat less animate editors.
The majority of our readers, I suspect, take their information from the English-language media – chiefly, the American and British networks, newspapers and websites.
To some extent, as knowledgeable individuals such as Daniel Ellsberg attest, the British are currently doing a better job in regards to Iraq. But when it comes to their perception of the American media, the Brits have tossed their darts just left of the center.
A recent article by the Guardian's Matthew Engel bemoans the state of American newspapers today. Engel dismisses them as timid, formulaic, and saccharine, as not only bland but as also lacking in vocation. [...]
Much of the outrage is indeed aimed at Bush, whose colloquial speaking style and Texas accent don't go over well here. A cartoon in last Sunday's Observer newspaper depicted him as the Lone Ranger and Blair as Tonto. When Blair expresses doubts about the Iraq campaign, Bush replies: "Shut up, Tonto, and cover my back."
"Bush is a gift for anti-American cartoonists," Timothy Garton Ash, director of the European Studies Center at St. Antony's College at Oxford University, said. "If Bill Clinton were still in the White House, I suspect it'd be a very different story."
Yikes! This, it seems, is how the British have fooled themselves. By putting all of the blame on Bush himself, they have ignored all of the known and unknown individuals behind the scenes, the officials who were at least equally (if not more) involved in calling the shots. [...]