Across Continents

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Perspectives on the West

I’d chanced on a few satellite news channels over the past few months as I’d headed east. Whilst most had an understandable regional focus – the de-facto blockade of Gazza dominates -and a sense of balance, a few portray a cleverly distorted picture of the West. Not blatant anti-capitalist rhetoric, but something much more subtle. A careful blend of selective reporting, the portrayal of disaffected minority groups and individuals as the representative voice of a nation, and a respectable veneer of engaging English speaking journalists. A number who’d started their broadcast careers in the UK Regions.

A leader torn between socialism and fascism. New media the death of television, newspapers close behind. The steady erosion of civil rights. US of course. But the UK didn’t fair much better. A nation about to run out of gas in the grip of an unprecedented winter. Whether the irony was intentional I couldn’t say, but the same channel chose to run a fairly scathing piece about a new rival, implying it to be nothing more than a conduit for propaganda.

But none of this had ever been reflected in what I’d found as I’d headed into the former Eastern Bloc countries. There’d been the same curiosity about the West as I’d had about the places I’d passed through. That’s not to say that sometimes people had very unrepresentative images of a nation, just that they were simple, harmless misunderstandings, quickly and willingly explained away over a coffee.

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