Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mardell's False Balance

Mark Mardell is the BBC's North America editor, who does a column called "Mardell's America" offering a look at American politics. I occasionally appreciate the column, but too often he just seems to be bending over backwards to try to makes his voice "unbiased" as the average American might perceive it -- which is quite a trick for a Brit since, as Mardell very well knows, the American "center" is way to the right of the European center. So many of his columns start to exude a vague "WTF is up with these Americans?!"-ness, which he promptly quashes by mumbling something about how the right-wingers maybe have a point.

His latest column has this annoying tendency on full display:

I haven't read [Pat Buchanan's] book, but judging from extracts it is easy to see how his pungently expressed anti-multiculturalism could be seen as racist.

But I do know the sort of views he is expressing are shared by many American conservatives who think their culture is under attack (just look at the comments on his blog, if you don't believe me)...Conservative views that seem very far to the right by British standards are all over the place - from blogs, to right-wing talk radio, and above all on Fox News.

So he seems to get it: The American right is full of scary racist shit. But then:

There is a grave danger for American democracy that the two parties not only can't agree, they can't even discuss.

Left and right live in their little ghettos of the mind, unwilling to listen to anything that doesn't reinforce their own views. If you only hear what your opponents are thinking through the warp of second-hand caricatures, then there is no chance of understanding their point of view.

"Ghettos of the mind", is it? "Second-hand caricatures"?

Or could it be that the American right wing is batshit crazy, and their "point of view" is not really understandable to begin with?

Just sayin'...

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