Now, if only I could get Emily Bell's attention....
"America is often portrayed as an ignorant, unsophisticated sort of place, full of bible bashers and ruled to a dangerous extent by trashy television, superstition and religious bigotry, a place lacking in respect for evidence based knowledge. I know that is how it is portrayed because I have done my bit to paint that picture..." BBC's Washington correspondent Justin Webb, in a remarkably frank admission of his role in misinforming the British public about America and Americans
In what possible way should such a meeting embarrass the White House? Unfortunately the BBC is keeping that a secret. Or perhaps even it doesn’t know.
Earlier, the Rev Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said he was seeking a meeting with Mr Chavez to distance US Christians from the remarks.
He is in Mexico, where he is meeting a friend of Mr Chavez, and if all goes well he will travel on to Caracas for an encounter that could embarrass the White House.
Male drivers more likely to crash
Young men driving in Hull are more than twice as likely to crash as women of the same age, research has shown.
'Men cleverer than women' claim
Academics in the UK claim their research shows that men are more intelligent than women.
Her arguments against the war have sparked a heated controversy, and conservative militants from California are on their way to Crawford to launch a tour called "You don't speak for me, Cindy!".
President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela hit back vigorously at calls by an ally of President George Bush for his assassination by offering cheap petrol to the poor of the US at a time of soaring fuel prices.Again, this is the introductory sentence. So, having failed to actually identify the person who made the assassination call, but noting that, whoever it was, it was an “ally” of Bush, Campbell clearly feels it is more important to implant the association between Bush and the assassination comment than to inform his audience who actually said it. It is only after this that we are introduced to Pat Robertson himslef.
The Bush administration tried to distance itself from Mr Robertson's views without upsetting the large Christian fundamentalist wing which the veteran evangelist represents.What does he mean “tried to” distance itself? First of all, Robertson is a private citizen, and is not now, nor has he ever been, a spokesman for the administration in any capacity at all, either officially or unofficially. So there is no reason to presume that the administration would be “close” to Robertson’s views in the first place. But, lest there be any doubt, this is what the administration had to say about those views:
This is not the policy of the United States government. We do not share his views…Any accusations or any idea that we are planning to take hostile action against Venezuela or the Venezuelan government - any ideas in that regard - are totally without fact and baseless. – State Department spokesman Sean McCormackThe fact that the administration “does not share his views” and “doesn’t do that kind of thing” seems to put a distinct chasm of “distance” between Bush and Robertson’s views. But Campbell, who quotes only the second half of Rumsfeld’s statement and none of McCormack’s, presents it as only an attempt to create distance which, by implication, may or may not have succeeded.
Our department doesn't do that kind of thing. It's against the law. He's a private citizen. Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time.– Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
This is not just on global warming and stem cells, currently in the news, but on a whole range of issues - lead and mercury poisoning in children, women's health, birth control, safety standards for drinking water, forest management, air pollution and on and on.Unfortunately, despite the “well documented” nature of Bush’s manipulations, Evans can’t himself be bothered to document a single one, making it rather difficult to check out for ourselves just what it is he is talking about. But that’s OK because Evan gives us the word of Professor Neal Lane that it is so. And, lest the fact that Lane happened to be an advisor to President Clinton raise questions about his objectivity, Evans assures us that, as “a former director of the National Science Foundation he cannot be dismissed as partisan.” Ah, of course. As we all know, SCIENTISTS, especially those who rise to prominence in professional organizations, are automatically above petty politics.
To be honest, the comment about the US is so out of place and incoherent with the surrounding text (Is the US really an example of a non-Muslim theocracy? Does America’s technological achievements really compare unfavorably “in contrast to” those of northern Europe? I don’t think so.) that it strikes me as simply a snide comment inserted for the amusement of an editor, and it accidentally got left in the published piece. It does seem to me to be just the kind of contemptuous comment that would get a few yucks in the BBC newsroom. But, intentionally part of the piece or not, its presence does give us an insight into Evans’ thinking, which seems to be typical BBC condescension towards Americans with religious beliefs.
Of course, theocracies are not a Muslim monopoly.
The rulers of the Christian Catholic theocracies of mediaeval Spain and Italy had a deep suspicion of new knowledge - witness the persecution of Galileo after he challenged the view that the sun revolved around the earth.
And today, one wonders how much curiosity about evolution there might be in the American Bible Belt where evolution's scientific worth is denied.
In contrast, the countries of northern Europe with a different, perhaps looser set of attitudes produced many of the technological developments which were crucial to later industrial development - small developments with a big impact, like mechanical clocks or reading glasses that enabled craftsmen to make more detailed machinery.
Creationism teaches that the story of Genesis is literally true, and that God really did create the world in seven days. Adherents believe the planet is only 6,000 years old.This is a classic example of the way in which the UK media attempts to prejudice its audience with its own anti-American biases.
In the US, the influence of creationism and its close cousin 'intelligent design' - the idea that humans are so complex they must have been generated by a conscious creator - on education is widespread.
In the UK, creationism remains a fringe movement…
The story of collective struggles is all too often filtered through the experience of an individual. In a bid to render the account more palatable and popular, the personal takes precedence over the political. As a result the story may reach a wider audience; but by the time they receive it, the agendas and the issues involved have often become distorted - to the detriment of both the individual and the movement.
The story of Cindy Sheehan, the 48-year-old woman whose son Casey was killed in Iraq in April 2004, is one such example.
With the help of PR consultants she was packaged as a grieving Everymother who wanted answers.But of course Younge does not acknowledge his own role in retailing the package being sold by the PR consultants, and he even goes on to contradict himself by sugggesting that, contrary to his claim that the portrayal of Sheehan has been detrimental to "the movement", she has given it a voice that it heretofore has lacked. In doing so, Younge proceeds to engage in a whole new Sheehan marketing campaign.
The reason Sheehan has become such a lightning rod is because [the anti-war] mood has found only inadequate and inconsistent expression in Congress. It has been left to her to articulate an escalating political demand that is in desperate need of political representation. This marks not only a profound dislocation between the political class and political culture but a short circuit in the democratic process. The mainstream has effectively been marginalised.Thus the anti-war movement becomes transformed into “mainstream” thought. No longer is Sheehan even a grieving “Everymother”; she’s now been promoted to the role of sole torch carrier for a “marginalized” majority. And what, exactly, is this “mainstream” position that is so marginalized? Younge doesn't seem to sure.
The Iraqi people and government are grateful that we eliminated their brutal dictator. They are capable of running their own government and building a democracy. It won’t look like ours; nor should it. But in order for them to succeed, we must not withdraw our troops before the Iraqis are ready to stand on their own.If that sounds strangely familiar, it should. It's Bush's policy as well.
We [on the left] wield political influence; we lack legislative power.Such wishful thinking. One must wonder how Younge has managed to measure this alleged political influence in the absence of a show of legislative power. In a democracy, doesn't the one manifest itself in the other? With thinking like this, it is no wonder that Younge's left is leaderless.