Back to Old Assumptions

Back To The Old Assumptions. This anti-US story seems a much more natural expression of the BBC’s judgement on world affairs. In the ‘good news Guantanamo Bay’ story below, the reader was expected to be surprised to hear that a young detainee was not bitter over his treatment. The assumption was that the reader would naturally believe that the US is treating inmates badly, with just the odd ray of sunlight being a story like that teenager’s. In the story I link to above there are as many overt and covert anti-Americanisms as I’ve come across- frighteningly so for what is really an online offshoot of a BBCWorld Service series (presented by Jonathan Marcus).

I offer just a sample. The piece begins

‘Mike Haverty has the sort of job most small boys dream of. He is president of his own railway.‘,

which is a familiar ‘boys with globalising toys’ sort of approach. It goes on to say,

‘The US is clearly seen by many as the villain of the piece.’,

and then

‘Big US agro-business is intent on spreading its products around the world, with the simple mantra of “what is good for the US consumer is good for the rest of us as well.”

In between such proclamations, we get a non-stop stream of interviews almost wholly concentrating on opponents and ‘victims’ of US policy, combined with the odd apparently ‘human touch’,

‘But when I met Bill Wylie on his small farm in Kansas, he did not look much like a villain.’,

to which my response was ‘well, why should he, and isn’t the very concept ridiculous in the specific trade context? And which empire was it that presided over such real ‘disasters’ as the potato famine? And wasn’t Mexico (especially rural Mexico) really, really poor before Nafta- or was there a golden era I missed somewhere? And where’s the balance, the other point of view, in this entire article?’ (btw, I should point out I’m British, despite the number of times I write accusing the Beeb of anti-American positions. To me, that’s a reflection on them, and the priorities they make in their reporting). One other aside- according to Marcus, US policy has been so self-centred for so long, even Bill Clinton wasn’t entirely fair. That bad, huh?

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