Primary Colours

Friday, January 18, 2008


In Britain, where political apathy is as ubiquitous as Earl Grey, the media are awash in American politics. Daily Telegraph columnist Janet Daley says that despite the “supercilious skepticism of the BBC to genuine popular democracy,” Britons are transfixed.

Comments [5]

Martin Weiss from Brooklyn, New York

We now elect a president on the basis of lying and half-lying 30-second commericals, puerile debates, and an agency-crafted "stump" speech exerpted endlessly with local variations. What we need every four years is an hour of public service broadcasting every evening. for six months, by every TV and radio station, free of charge. Let each station choose that evening's least-profitable hour, as well as the hour's scope, national or local, election-centered of otherwise. Over the six months there will be ample oppportunity to provide the necessary thoughtful, leisurely discussion (hopefully required by a more patriotic FCC) with academics and other thoughtful supporters and critics, as well as with rival candidates and political reporters. We shouldn't have to "buy a pig in a poke, " as they say down in Texas.

Jan. 30 2008 12:35 PM
Dave from London, UK

This piece was very funny, as an American living in London I've definitly observed the bizarre British fascination with this election cycle with some bemusement and noted it here

Jan. 24 2008 11:00 AM
Alex from London

I have to take issue with one small aspect of the broadcast: earl grey isn't very widely drunk in the UK. Hence, US election coverage is far more prevalent than this particular tea.

I think that the obsession with the election stems from several sources. The first is the effect of international foreign policy. The UK's foreign policy over the last eight years has been increasingly led by the US's foreign policy. The US election result in 2004 was met with shock and awe in the UK -- we felt that the result was going to have a detrimental affect on our foreign policy and armed services. The assumption had been that it would be an easy win for the democrats. Having had the 2004 election rug pulled from underneath us, we certainly feel inclined to follow the 2008 election more closely; although no-one wants to admit that the outcome of an election in which we are not allowed to participate will have a huge affect on our own lives.

And we must not underestimate the human factor. The openness of discussion with the US electorate is very surprising to us. We've been brought up in a country where it is not polite to talk about ones political views lest it provokes a confrontation. Therefore the idea of holding large family gatherings to discuss politics is as fascinating to us as the idea of choosing ones leaders by casting bones. This leads to a certain air of the National Geographic about our newscasts, which is very entertaining.

Jan. 20 2008 05:51 PM
Dana Franchitto from S.Wellfleet, Mass.USA

I wish we had more than a conservative perspective on this issue. But then again , conservative favoritism has been the norm for NPR for a number of years. I'm not saying, the BBC is beyond criticism but given the accusations of "condescension",among other things hurled at the BBC by Ms Daley, would it not have been appropriate for "public" radio to invite a voice from the BBc to speak in its defense? Ms Gladstone gave the conservative Daley a free ride but gave Dennis Kucinich the third degree. So much for "independent" and ''objective " NPR.

Jan. 20 2008 04:01 PM
Robert from NYC

Thanks for this segment, I thought that I was the only person who noticed this British enthusiasm with this crappy election procedure. They're almost more aggressive as the American media and it irritates me because I go to BBC to get another perspective and point of view on other news, but the BBC is dedicating as much time to the "campaign" on their TV reporting as the American media. Please BBC don't become another CNN; one CNN is unbearably too much!!

Jan. 20 2008 10:32 AM

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