Monday, July 02, 2007

Carry on

One thing I admire about the British is their refusal to allow terrorism to drive them into hysterics. Here's a reader e-mail from TPM:
[...]My hotel TV offers both CNN and BBC news coverage, and the difference between them is remarkable. When the Glasgow attack became known, CNN offered non-stop coverage which preempted all normal programming. The attackers were defined in no uncertain terms as Al-Quaeda members, despite any conclusive evidence of same. In stark contrast, BBC offered quite detailed coverage of the attack, but continued with normal programming covering weather, sports, international affairs, etc. BBC was quite careful not to ascribe any specific Al-Quaeda membership, and seemed to be more comfortable describing the attackers as "influenced by other Al-Quaeda types". CNN created the image of a major world crisis, while BBC presented an isolated but obviously troubling event.

I would respectfully posit that such coverage by most of our American Mainstream Media is why the Bush Administration has been able to so easily play with the fears and emotions of Americans.

Sullivan has a similar post, in which a reader comments:
You can't watch the response of UK police authorities in their public statements without being impressed with the careful balance they strike between exorting the public to vigilance and resistance to being stampeded into premature conclusions. And particularly their restraint in talking about those who were arrested. "Out of respect for proper process, we will avoid comment," they say. And indeed, that's exactly what responsible law enforcement in a democratic society should say. It couldn't contrast more sharply with the conduct of the Ashcroft and, still worse, Gonzales Justice Department which engages in hysterical rants, leveling charges that almost never pan out, and screaming "terrorists!" at the top of their lungs - on a manifestly partisan political message. Let's call it department of calm heads vs. department of headless chickens. In any event, our friends in Britain are providing a model on this.


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