As a fighter for the indigenous language and culture of the island-nation of Ireland I sometimes have mixed feelings about the United States of America. First and foremost it is someone else’s country. The native peoples of North America who forcibly share their continent with and within three larger nation-states are the ones my natural empathy lies with. If the Native American peoples gained some form of genuine or actual sovereignty within their territorial boundaries I for one would be happy. More than happy.
Yet the United States is a nation that I also admire. After all the Irish people played a part in its creation and maintenance, and still do so. During the long centuries of the British Occupation the US was the home to countless Irish exiles and a source of hope and resistance. Too many Irish people gloss over the debt we owe Irish-America. Too many Irish people forget the thousands of graves across the United States (and Canada and Mexico) where lie the remains of Irish men and women who sacrificed all that they could so that Ireland may be free, that those they left behind may be finally unfettered from generations of serfdom. Their suffering (and they did suffer) is something official Ireland would rather be hidden away for it cannot accept that one can remember without the need to emulate, such is the petty imagination and lack of wit of our ruling Neo-Ascendancy classes. Or perhaps they fear that we will see something in times past that will hold up a mirror to these indentured times we live in now?
In any case I like the United States and I like its citizens. On one coast the north-eastern seaboard and the great stretch of lands running from New York City to the Canadian border (and well beyond) has always attracted me. On the farther coast the north-west woods and hills hold a particular fascination. However, like everywhere, the US has its extremes. In the States there are those who would make a Christian theocracy of their secular republic. They are mainly, perhaps all, on the political Right. Most are socially and economically conservative though a few libertarians add to the uneasy mix.
Many follow Fox News, that monstrous television, radio and online vehicle of biased newscasting filtered through the dark prism of Roger Ailes’ world-view.
However every now and again the prism so distorts the light it shines that it illuminates itself becoming in the process an object of scrutiny for all.
Not really a whole lot to say about this one. Suffice it to say that it ought to be very alarming to everyone that Fox News is the most watched news station in this country.
I don’t watch Fox News, nor any of the television networks in the US. I recognize that each network panders to a demographic, and, as such, their coverage has to be taken with a teaspoon of salt. I’ve always felt that, in the US, at least, anyone who relies solely, or almost solely, on the big networks for news is setting themselves up to be, at best, severely underinformed.
That said, Fox News exists because a significant percentage of the populace believed a void existed prior to Fox, and Fox stepped in and filled the perceived void. This is not a critique of the quality of Fox News, but merely a recognition that Fox saw an opportunity and took advantage of it.
However, it is unfortunate that there is no perceived void in the US for a network that caters to an educated viewership interested in something besides political sex scandals, natural disasters and serial killers.
Very true. In Ireland we have a private TV corporation owned by a British hedge-fund company which operates two TV channels, TV3 and 3e. 95% of the programming on both channels is British, American and other imports, some of it decades old and most of it geared towards unapologetic tabloid television (the distasteful Steve Wilkos Show would be typical of the output). Many people thought the channels would never survive in this environment, that Irish viewers would simply have no interest in their programming. Instead they have flourished (though that is a relatively easy task with minimal staff and a tiny internal output of its own, not to mention considerable favour from right-wing politicians who allowed both channels to be set up with no quality regulations or rules about domestic ownership in place). And to make matters worse the rest of Ireland’s domestic broadcasters have had to climb down into the gutter to try and recapture audience numbers (and advertisers) from the terrible twins of TV3 and 3e.
I suppose Fox News has had a similar deleterious effect on US television news. Lowering output to the lowest common denominator, egging on partisanship, etc.
Whatever criticisms one can make of Britain’s BBC (and the recent sex and finance scandals provide plenty, not to mention the “Rule Britannia” triumphalism/nostalgia of recent years) it is still something to envy.