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Category Archives: USA

Those Crazy Americans on @theJeremyVine Show: Another Balanced Debate from The BBC

Aerial view of the White House in Washington, D.C.

The United States: not European enough apparently ... you can't see a single Greek rioter anywhere.

Yesterday’s Jeremy Vine show had a discussion on “What has gone wrong with the USA?”. Though ostensibly a discussion about the current federal debt crisis, I can’t help thinking that in the programme’s planning the rather broader premise of the question was barely queried.

This could still have been an engaging debate – even with the time restrictions imposed by the show’s easily digestible puréed format which shoehorns four topics and music into less than two hours, leaving little time for the sort of audience engagement that listeners of ‘proper’ (sorry, Jeremy) phone-in shows allow. Sadly, though, one is left distracted by the BBC disease: a lack of impartiality almost to the point of failing to “educate and inform”.

First up was Justin Webb, the BBC’s former Washington correspondent, who quickly settled into a caricature of the U.S. that we have become familiar with from the BBC. Within seconds he had mentioned Sarah Palin and “rootin’ tootin’ huntin’ fishin’” types not wanting anything to do with the federal government. How ungrateful these people are, he opined, given how much the federal government had spent on them. Americans, he said, “don’t really understand the extent to which, in a modern society, you need the government to spend money” … they were not “willing to pay for it”, he lectured.

America needs to become “more modern and European”, said Webb, without a hint of irony or clue that he’d actually been aware of the economic hurricane over the Euro-zone. (Perhaps, like so many, he had been more focussed on the media’s navel-gazing and BBC’s Murdoch gloatfest of recent weeks.)

Then, in a statement that would have struck a sweet chord with so many Marchers for the Alternative, Webb pointed out that the U.S. national debt was not that high, as a percentage of GDP.

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@RichardJMurphy Bemused By Display Of Principles

I won’t say that Richard Murphy, the black sheep of the accountancy profession, has lost it: for as any regular reader of his (or indeed any follower of Tim Worstall will realise) that train left the station some years ago, the track has since been ripped up on Dr Beeching’s orders, the platform has now gone to grass and even the railway preservation societies aren’t interested.

However, this morning we have yet another reminder of just why only the likes of the BBC among the mainstream media still seek his opinion on anything.

Are the Tea Party the political equivalent of suicide bombers?

Yes, that really was the headline. No attention grabbing there then.

Let me stress, straight away, I’m not suggesting the Tea Party are physical terrorists.

Fear not, I wasn’t about to fall into that elephant trap.

Suicide bombing changed the whole environment of terrorism. Suddenly we faced people for whom what had been presumed to be the ultimate deterrent – risk of their own death – held no threat….

The Tea Party may be politically similar.

Wipe the coffee off your screen, you’ll have to get used to this sort of thing.
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