Readers of Sparrow Chat will be well aware of my regard for the British Broadcasting Corporation. It’s not perfect, occasionally makes mistakes or misrepresents matters, but compared to what passes for ‘news media’ in America – with the possible exception of NPR – it is usually fairly objective and not totally controlled by politicians or corporate sponsors.
There is the odd occasion, however, if the BBC allows its reporters a little more personal opinion than is usual, that the reporter chooses to write such a load of bullshit and balderdash that it cannot be dismissed without comment.
Matt Frei has recently become the BBC’s ‘Man in the US’. He is hosting a new nightly program, “BBC World America” on BBC America between 7pm and 8pm (ET). Today he published a report on the BBC website, entitled, “Goodbye Cowboy”. The article seems to insinuate that George W Bush has matured over his eight years in office. No longer a simple ‘Texas cowboy’, he has gradually metamorphosed into a political statesman of quality, responsible for……..well, let’s see, exactly what does Frei award him credit for?
He begins thus:
“Imagine an administration that has persuaded one of the world’s most opaque and troublesome regimes to negotiate the dismantling of its nukes.”
Strangely, considering the huge amount of effort China has put into negotiating Pyongyang’s nuclear climbdown, Frei is referring to the US administration. I would be the first to congratulate Christopher Hill for his not inconsiderable feat of negotiation, for he is one of the few true diplomats left on Capital Hill, but without China he may as well have stayed at home.
“Imagine an administration has given more than $15bn towards treating HIV/Aids, mainly in Africa; that has hinted it might boycott the Beijing Olympics if China doesn’t intervene to stop Burmese monks from getting slaughtered; that has tried – and failed – to force immigration reform down the throats of its own party; that obsesses about alternative fuels and talks climate change.
Imagine an administration that prefers a diplomatic to a military option in Iran, is in bed with the French, on the sofa with the Germans and in the cooler with the Brits……”
Frei’s imagination appears to be running wild.
Much of the $15 billion HIV/Aids money has gone to faith-based organizations who have distributed it among Christian churches in Africa. Most of these religious groups are highly fundamentalist and believe abstention the only acceptable means to prevent HIV/Aids infection. Condoms are the product of Satan.
It’s easy to throw money at a problem, particularly when it isn’t your money, but George Bush shows little interest in how that money is spent and its effectiveness, or lack of. As a consequence, the incidences of HIV/Aids in Africa continue to rise at an alarming rate.
Bush’s ‘hints’ of a Beijing Olympic boycott are just hot air, a means to inspire some approval from his base. It’ll never happen. As for his failed attempt to ‘force immigration reform’, here is a president who has run rings around his Republican party. He refused to listen to them over the Iraq war, instigated wire-tapping laws and removed the right of habeas corpus, authorized torture of detainees, all while Republicans were impotent to do anything to stop it, and Frei believes they prevented him from forcing immigration reform?
Has it occurred to him that Bush never wanted the immigration reform he so vociferously lauded? Isn’t it possible George Bush was playing politics, pretending to give those corporates who get fat on illegal labor exactly what they wanted, till the nasty old Republican party stepped in and thwarted him?
“Sorry, guys, ah did ma best.”
After all, he’s giving the likes of ADM and Monsanto exactly what they want by ‘obsessing about alternative fuels’, because the only ‘alternative’ in the foreseeable future is ethanol, given that corporate research money for hydrogen fuel cells just isn’t available. Obviously, Mister Frei doesn’t read the experts on alternative fuels. He might start HERE.
Frei is right on one matter, though. George Bush is talking about climate change. Unfortunately, he does absolutely nothing else, except talk.
I think I must have slept in for a week or three. I’ve missed something vital. An occurrence has taken place I know nothing about. It seems George Bush is turning towards diplomacy with Iran and I’ve missed it. Perhaps, Mister Frei knows something we don’t? Or, maybe Laura Bush let something slip during the intimate tete-a-tete between her and Mister Frei, that left him describing her as, “….fragrant steel….????”
According to Frei, George Bush is finally “…..getting in touch with his feminine side…….” Apparently, Laura and Condi are now ruling the White House – or, should that be hen-house? – and George is listening.
After all, Laura said in her interview she was very upset about Burma and had “condemned the generals and encouraged the protestors.”
I doubt they noticed.
According to Frei:
“[Laura] is fascinated by the heroism of Aung San Suu Kyi and she thumbed her nose, very delicately, at China, a country which the Republican business community is loath to offend for fear of losing a contract or two.”
A contract or two? To say nothing of such trivia as America’s $200+ billion trade deficit with China. Let’s hope Laura’s nose-thumbing was very reserved. After all, Hu Jintao is George’s bank manager.
Quite what it was that caused Matt Frei to write such drivel is difficult to surmise. Was he, perhaps, trying just too hard to make a good impression, given his new job? Or, maybe, he was greasing the wheels of BBC diplomacy, oiling the way to future successful interviews and the hopes of a choice tit-bit or two from under the president’s table?
Whatever the cause, he failed miserably. Judging from the comments he received on the BBC’s website, there were few if any who agreed with him. Though their reasons for disapproval were as varied as British weather, I read none that praised his assessments.
An email on the subject from an American lady, and received at my own mailbox, sums up the content of Matt Frei’s report both precisely and concisely:
“Good one. We’re glad we could help George “mature”. It was worth all the lives lost; lives ruined; the introduction of torture; the trashing of the constitution and the current quasi-nazi state of affairs. No problem”
I could not have phrased it more accurately myself.
For the rest of Frei’s assessment of George W Bush, his recent maturity and feminine guiles, click HERE.
Filed under: British poppycock