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Damning with faint praise  

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article on the UK-French divisions over Iraq. There’s nothing particularly new (and it’s subscribers only, so I haven’t linked), but I was amused by this characterisation: “The most important UN debate in years has turned into a dogfight between two middling European powers, France and Britain” (emphasis added). And the large European powers are…?


British Spin has some valuable observations on what he calls the futures market in politics.

“This story [will Robin Cook and Clare Short resign] is a massive example of political discounting. A few months ago the resignation of 2 cabinet ministers would have been a devastating shock. Then it became a general expectation, and by Monday the news story will be any difference to the expected (and hence discounted 2 resignations). For this story to be explosive now, there need to be more than 2 resignations, or less than 2 (hence my theory above). Right now we all know (we being political freaks) that 2 cabinet ministers will likely go and can pretty much live with that. It’ll still be a big story of course, just not a thermonuclear 24 hour news special graphics CRISIS FOR BLAIR. To get that we need a change versus peoples expectations.”


What’s up with The Guardian? They’ve given space to a truly vile piece on assassinated Serbian leader Zoran Djindjic. Harry Steele provides valuable background.

Magical misery tour 

Jason Burke provides a refreshingly honest look at war reporting in The Guardian. “Of course telling the world what’s happening is important, but the harsh truth is that wars combine, for journalists, deep intellectual interest and adrenaline rushes of the sort usually more associated with extreme sports.”

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