since when was constructive criticism a 'bias'

For the last few days, the news of Tony Blair’s whinging about the BBC’s coverage of the Katrina Disaster has been in the news – he claims it was ‘full of hate for America’, largely due to its overt critique of the Bush government’s response to it.

Since when was pointing out the abject failure of a government to do its job ‘Anti-Americanism’ – surely an anti-american stance would have been saying that the country deserved it, or would have been gloating over the scenes of the disaster. There was nothing of the sort of course, and the reporters seemed genuinely moved by the plight of the people they were reporting on. Indeed, it seemed more like their closeness to those who lost the most was the thing that was driving them to look for answers and that search lead them to the top of the pile. Bush even admitted he was at fault (when he realised it was one PR war he was losing tragically).

The history of Tony Blair’s relationship with the Bush administration is so sickening sycophantic that he doesn’t even seem able to admit when he’s beloved George has been so obviously shown up as not caring about the poor within his own borders. Katrina has revealed such a gaping sore at the heart of the American project, one that the vast majority of americans are sickened by and want to see changed. It’s by no means anti-american to point out that the one person with the authority to have done something about it chose to a) not do the preparation years ago (neither did Clinton), and b) delay the rescue attempts when the whole thing kicked off, despite them having a few days notice that it was going to happen!

to be labeled as ‘un-American’ or ‘anti-american’ has for a long time been the worst thing you can accuse someone of in certain sections of US life – they are words that have been employed to keep people in line to prevent questioning of the government, to stop people asking questions about the constitution, and to draw a thick line between those for us and those against us. Thank God there are now millions of Americans who are dissenting because they see it as their right and duty as Americans (OK, so all the nationalism leaves me cold, but for now, I’m seeing it as a big step forward from the blind support for all things Governmental…) – it’s great to hear Americans being openly critical of some elements of the ‘American Dream’ and the effects it’s had in creating a massive poverty problem within the US. In the same way that poverty in Britain has to be a concern for anyone who likes living here or claims to ‘love’ their country, those who claim patriotic allegiance in the States need to acknowledge that a country born out of the genocide of one nation and the enslavement of a continent to build its infrastructure is never going to just fall into being one with ‘freedom and equality for all’ (or whatever it says in the declaration thingie – i think I’ve got the ‘all men are created equal’ bit and the ‘justice and liberty’ bit mixed up).

It’s so sad to see the destruction of so much of the American south – New Orleans, Louisiana, the Texas coast… I’ve got friends who’ve lost their houses, some whose houses are still standing but in the middle of a sea of toxic mud, and I can’t even imagine what I’d do in such a situation. But I do know that I’d be expecting the people i’d been paying taxes to for so many years to do something to help put it right, and if they didn’t I’d be kicking up one hell of a stink, and anyone from the overseas media who helped to highlight the cause of those who’d been left stranded would be considered a friend and ally, not accused of anti-British sentiment.

Soundtrack – King Crimson, ‘Three Of A Perfect Pair’.

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