Sunday, March 19, 2006

Danish Outrage Reduced to Petulance Not Violence

60 minutes biased?  I know most people will find that assertion commonplace and some will even say wrong.  The reality is that fans of 60 minutes are generally either so uninformed or misinformed that they take what is presented to them as good journalism that is attempting to get at and present a true picture of a particular situation.  Another aspect of the belief paradigm is that most people are simply too lazy to ferret out the actual facts of any particular story to see if they match the CBS assertions.

What would be found, and it is the same with all network magazines, is an editorial bias to the left and in particular a destructive view of any nation that is friendly towards the United States. By aiding the United States in the anti-terror and Iraq wars Denmark became vulnerable to media acid attacks.  The recent portrayal of Denmark is a good example.  The Danes have every right to be outraged by the program which showed Denmark as a society of dumb blondes, which I can assure you from personal experience is not the case.  The program portrayed Danes as insensitive white folks intent on excluding people of “color.”  The complete opposite is true.  Their hearts bleed for the world.  The country as whole has a socially liberal bent and is in fact a welfare state as is most of Europe.  The education system works and the religious life is basically form without substance; a natural reaction to the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Recently there was a reaction from a famous Danish journalist, Samuel Rachlin, to the CBS story on 60 minutes. This reaction is what can be expected from anyone who has been falsely accused and is feeling angry, hurt, and powerless.  It is also a bit childish and naïve.  The CBS story would have been better reasoned had the actual facts of the Muslim cartoons had been presented; that would not happen for obvious reasons.  One weak point of Rachlin’s argument damaged the writer’s credibility; that the US had problems with integration during Katrina and “we Danes” didn’t crow about it.  This argument is of course false and distracting but reveals something more interesting.  When a conservative American government is elected the European assumption immediately is “Oh look how stupid those Americans are.  Why can’t they be sophisticated as we are?”  This is not simply a Danish phenomenon; it is also espoused by the “cultural elites” in the United States and all the other “advanced” European societies.  Fans of CBS, ABC, and NBC news will never get a completely true picture of the United States (or any place else) the people who are reporting and managing the coverage are products of the Watergate era during which their colleagues became famous and wealthy by attacking the government and society members whose ideas did not agree with theirs.  Since then liberalism self-hatred has been in the ascendancy. The guilt they feel because they are prosperous and others are not is palpable and ridiculous.

There will never equality of circumstances or even a free exchange of ideas as long as human nature prevails.  Some people have a fortunate birth but have faulty genetic equipment and bring ruin upon themselves.  Some are less fortunate in their births but have strong genetic tools that enable them to rise above the crowd.  Others and this is the largest group simply muddles along and does most of the regular work and is satisfied. Most people are interested in the opinion of others in direct proportion to its agreement with theirs.

Danish outrage over the 60 Minutes portrayal of their country and society is fully justified.  The idea that this behavior by 60 Minutes is an anomaly though shows a certain bias and naiveté as well.  It is common to accept the authority of one that is preaching the words the audience wants to hear and difficult to bear when the words of that authority are turned against the very audience which had respected it.  I feel certain, without personal knowledge of the case, that Mr. Rachlin has himself presented stories which have reflected his personal bias; it’s the news business and it is human nature to project oneself in to the story.

I was a faithful viewer of 60 minutes for too many years; I stopped my addiction when I realized that a kernel of truth found in a bushel of half-truths and outright lies is a rotten combination that should be ignored.

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