Thursday, October 3, 2013

Foreign Views Of The Shutdown

To get a proper perspective on the shutdown, forget the American media and look to the foreign press. Think Progress a good summary of how the world is seeing us. Here are a couple of highlights from Old Europe:
 The United Kingdom: The British press, known for its arch reactions to crises, didn’t disappoint. “America shuts down,” blared The Daily Mail, Britain’s most notorious tabloid. “David Cameron warns on world growth as US government shuts down,” The Independent reported. “It is a risk to the world economy if the US can’t properly sort out its spending plans,” Cameron told BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday.

But perhaps the harshest coverage came from the stolid BBC. In a piece titled “US shutdown has other nations confused and concerned,” Anthony Zurcher wrote, “For most of the world, a government shutdown is very bad news – the result of revolution, invasion or disaster. Even in the middle of its ongoing civil war, the Syrian government has continued to pay its bills and workers’ wages. That leaders of one of the most powerful nations on earth willingly provoked a crisis that suspends public services and decreases economic growth is astonishing to many…Now, as the latest shutdown crisis plays out, policymakers in other nations are left to ponder the worldwide impact of the impasse.”

Germany: The German press erupted in criticism for American politicians on Tuesday. Der Spiegel Online proclaimed, “A superpower has paralyzed itself,” while The Welt predicted “fatal consequences” that could damage the U.S. recovery. The Zeit newspaper blamed a “handful of radicals,” stating, “A small group of uncompromising Republican ideologues in the House of Representatives are principally responsible for this disaster. They are not only taking their own party to the brink, but the whole country. Unfortunately the leadership of this party has neither had the courage nor the backbone to put them in their place.”
Amen, meine freunde! How refreshing to see things stated so bluntly and accurately.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the American media could phrase things that way? Instead, we get the squishy and misleading he said/she said, both-sides-do-it bullshit that keeps Mr. and Mrs. Average American in a permanent muddle. Take the Washington Post on Monday: “In shutdown blame game, Democrats and Republicans united: It’s the other side’s fault.” The people who cooked up that headline needn’t worry about having their membership to the Chevy Chase Country Club revoked. 



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