Day By Day

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Beeb Is Coming To America

And that's not a very good thing, according to the Times' Gerard Baker.

To the BBC's editors and reporters America is a country of backward, grass-chewing, Bible-toting religious fundamentalists, ignorant of almost everything that goes on beyond their shores. Americans are obese, gun-wielding fanatics devoted to despoiling the planet with their greed for ever larger cars and ever heavier hamburgers. The US is a country of grotesque inequalities of income and wealth in which the few rich laud it over the indigent many, fuelled by tax cuts and the hacking away of welfare programmes.

Its political coverage at least is balanced. This says Republicans are greedy, warmongering crooks but Democrats are no better - they're merely paler versions of ignorant nationalist capitalists.

BBC reporters travel the country in a state of bewilderment and bemusement at the pathos of it all. They approach their subjects like missionaries venturing into a leper colony - with an odd mixture of contempt and pity, the perfumed handkerchief stuck firmly under the nose to prevent contamination. Safely back in Washington and New York, of course, they all live high on the hog, fully enjoying the fruits of American economic success and low tax rates. Oddly enough they're nearly always reluctant to leave the imperialist superpower for the social democratic nirvana back home and many find ways to extend their tours.

And now the BBC wants to bring all of that accumulated knowledge and reporting expertise from around the world into American homes -and beyond.

Read the whole thing here.

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