Sunday, April 24, 2005

Now there's this noisy rabble, this foreign babble

It's fascinating to see how foreign news outlets are spinning Adscam; they offer a level of removal from the immediacy of domestic politics, but too often miss the point entirely. Like, say, this NPR analysis (audio; RealPlayer required). The host, Scott Simon, seems particularly uninterested in the sheer scale of Liberal corruption, except inasmuch as Chretien left a mess for Paul Martin to clean up. (He also pronounces Chretien with far more affected an accent than most domestic Anglo media types do, which sounds more than a bit silly.) Instead, he quizzes the Globe & Mail's Marcus Gee on just what makes Canadian peacekeeping so gosh-darn spiffy. It's clear he has some kind of utopian vision of what Canada is, and massive corruption on the part of the identifiably more left-wing of the two major parties doesn't fit into that fantasy. The headline "Canadian PM Confronts Problems" only serves to highlight this misconception on NPR's part, seeing the sponsorship scandal and military funding as two equal issues of mild concern, rather than variously shameful manifestations of irresponsible and self-interested Liberal policies. Never once does Simon or Gee mention the terrible poll numbers that have made obvious how significant Liberal corruption has become for their re-election chances, or even the name of one of the opposition parties; no, as far as the casual listener would know, Canadian politics seem barely scandalous at all. But, then, it is NPR. And the host is a self-admitted die-hard fan of the French national soccer team. We know who he - and his employer - are likely rooting for, don't we? It just wouldn't do to be giving them bad press.

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