Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Why Eric Alterman kicks butt:
(from his July 8th column at Altercation)

ABC’s “The Note” advises “the best American political coverage uses the ups and downs and twists and turns of every campaign to hold a mirror up to a still-young
nation that happens to be the world’s finest democracy.”

This kind of meaningless BS is often considered obligatory by U.S. journalists, but excuse me, by exactly what normative criteria is this “the world’s finest democracy”? Voter turnout? We’re just about the worst. Turnover in leadership? We rank below the Communist Party of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Quality of debate? Again, not as easy to measure as a data point, but my own assessment is that we’re in last place in our division and sinking fast. What does our system do best? That’s easy. We have the democracy where money counts for the most and honesty counts for the least, and we most definitely lead the world in self-congratulation.