Friday, March 28, 2008

Them Again

Why does this not surprise me?

Former "Nightline" reporter Dave Marash has quit Al-Jazeera English, saying Thursday his exit was due in part to an anti-American bias at a network that is little seen in this country.

Marash said he felt that attitude more from British administrators than Arabs at the Qatar-based network.

Marash was the highest-profile American TV personality hired when the English language affiliate to Al-Jazeera was started two years ago in an attempt to compete with CNN and the BBC. He said there was a "reflexive adversarial editorial stance" against Americans at Al-Jazeera English.

Emphasis added.

Because like the big brother who never stopped picking on you, it's always the British.* We have this conflicted relationship with France. But I think it comes from a mutual awareness of our common quirks -- we're both trying to be the dominant moral force for Enlightenment virtues in the world, so there's natural rivalry.

The French gave us the Statue of Liberty. They also gave themselves one, staring east toward its bigger sister. And they scattered other replicas across the country, including this one:

A third replica is the Bordeaux Statue of Liberty. This 2.5 m (8 ft) statue is in the city of Bordeaux in Southwest France. The first Bordeaux statue was seized and melted down by the Nazis in World War II. The statue was replaced in 2000 and a plaque was added to commemorate the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. On the night of March 25, 2003, unknown vandals poured red paint and gasoline on the replica and set it on fire. The vandals also cracked the pedestal of the plaque. The mayor of Bordeaux, former prime minister Alain Juppé, condemned the attack.

Which, the Wikipedia artfully manages to not mention, was three days into the Iraq War.

Can you imagine the British giving America a Statue of Liberty? French visitors to early 19th century America, such as de Tocqueville and Michel Chevalier, were careful observers and able to see the flow of democratic forces in U.S. society. The British writers who visited practiced a rhetorical scorched earth policy to feed the hunger of the home audience for horror stories about stupid, violent, arrogant, boorish America. The few exceptions were ones who never saw the place but used it as an imaginary ideal to criticize what they disliked in English culture and British governance.

*As always, our friend Canker is a noble exception to that generalization.

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