Financial Times' new low

I’ve lamented the US political coverage by the Financial Times’ Edward Luce before. And the other day Felix Salmon picked up the theme. But I think today may mark a new low.

Luce provides political analysis on the award of the Nobel peace prize to president Obama. He takes the church of the savvy line that the prize will reinforce the view that Obama is all talk, no action. Given that Luce has never found a conservative take on conventional wisdom that he doesn’t like, that’s unsurprising. But he plumbs the depths with his language.

Rush Limbaugh, the talk radio host, spoke for a large number of conservatives when he described the award as a display of humour by God that was designed to “emasculate the United States”.

“This fully exposes the illusion that is Barack Obama,” Mr Limbaugh told Politico, the Washington news site. “They love a weakened, neutered US and this is their way of promoting that concept.” The “they” in Mr Limbaugh’s world view consists of effete Europeans and their ideological cousins living on each of America’s coastlines who believe in multilateralism, the UN and diplomacy.

Unsurprisingly, America’s Merlot-drinking classes were more respectful of the announcement. Ted Turner, head of the UN Foundation, a private group set up to defend an institution that is unpopular in the US, said: “This is an exciting time when global co-operation is recognised to be necessary for securing a peaceful and prosperous world.”

Strobe Talbott, head of the centrist Brookings Institution, told the Financial Times: “While some might see the prize as premature, Obama has already had an extraordinary and salutary effect on the view of the US in much of the world. But the progress in Geneva with the Iranians [on uranium enrichment talks last month] suggests that there is already some concrete benefit.”

Gosh, who would you rather be? A talk radio host who speaks for a “large number of conservatives” or part of “America’s Merlot-drinking classes”? Think Luce’s language expresses any preference?

Brad DeLong often laments the inadequacies of The Washington Post and The New York Times. The FT is in a different league and it does a remarkable job of covering the world. But they do a piss poor job in Washington.

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