New Internationalist


Issue 346

Media-watch group FAIR points out that US public-service broadcaster PBS stringently rejects documentaries from biased or ‘self-interested’ sources. It refused to air The Money Lenders, a 1993 documentary on the World Bank, on the grounds that: ‘Even though the documentary may seem objective to some, there is a perception of bias in favor of poor people who claim to be adversely affected.’ Fortunately there is no such unsporting ‘bias in favour of poor people’ in the latest globalization documentary on PBS. Settle down with some popcorn to watch The Commanding Heights, the thrilling tale of the irresistible rise of the glorious global free market — brought to you by BP, FedEx and collapsed energy giant Enron, who all funded the documentary.

Trade Terriers

Everyone has their favourite George W Bush story. Seriously recalls the time Bush caused panic-selling of the Japanese currency by discussing ‘devaluation’ of the yen (he meant ‘deflation’). Doh! And who could fail to be taken with Bush’s vivid global trade metaphors when he conflated ‘tariffs’ and ‘barriers’ into ‘terriers’. Presumably Bush opposes other nations keeping these protectionist small dogs, but is in favour of employing fierce trade terriers to guard the steel industry at home.

Dubya is no genetic throwback, but the inheritor of a proud tradition of misspoken Presidents. His father, Bush Senior, assessed the environmental effects of the Alaskan oil pipeline in mindboggling fashion, observing: ‘The caribou love it. They rub against it and they have babies.’

Reagan, about to go on the air for a radio broadcast and unaware that the microphone was already on, announced: ‘My fellow Americans, I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.’ Frightening prospect though it is, Seriously begins to wonder whether Dubya could even be the product of the happy mingling of George Bush Senior and Ronald Reagan’s gaffe-prone genetic material.

For Bush Senior once memorably admitted: ‘For seven and a half years I’ve worked alongside President Reagan. We’ve had triumphs. Made some mistakes. We’ve had some sex… uh… setbacks.’

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