Sunday, July 16, 2006

BBC versus ...

...American network news

I just watched BBC World News on PBS, and they spent 10 full minutes (plus an update mid-broadcast) on the absurd mess developing in Israel, Gaza, and Lebanon. Correspondents checked in from multiple locations in each area, letting us see slices of the stress and suffering being inflicted all-round.

Before that, I caught a segment on the same business on one of the local network news stations. I wish I'd timed it. It was definitely over in under than two minutes. I think more time was spent on some story about baseball coaches.

Dear BBC: you are far from perfect, but still you set an embarrassing standard.

...the White House

On Afghanistan, the White House says: "the United States is working to build a safe, stable society that meets the needs of its people and eliminates an environment that breeds terrorism."

The BBC says:
A quarter of the children born in this country still die before reaching the age of five.

If they live longer than that, they can expect, on the whole, to find little healthcare, no safe water, no sewage system, no jobs, no security and no future.

The roads that the American ambassador boasts about all too soon enter Taleban strongholds.

In provinces like Helmand and Zabul, those fabled schools have been taken over by mullahs who have learned to hate the West and its values and who firmly believe that their classrooms are no place for girls.

Outside l'Atmosphere ["Kabul's premier French restaurant"], I chatted to one of the guards, a friendly old chap whose name I will withhold.

He was cradling his AK-47 and smiled at me, with his set of yellow and broken teeth. I had got to know him a little, stopping at the guard hut for a chat when I had time.

"I earn $47 a month," he said, "and I work every hour I can for my three sons and my wife."

He gestured towards the entrance to l'Atmosphere: "Do you really think that if the Taleban came, I would stay and fight?"

Not for $47, I said. "No," he said, "I would take off my uniform and join them."

No comments: