Given the happenings in Massachusetts and New York this past week, I had expected to blog more today on gay marriage. But, then again, I had expected to blog last week on the eHarmony lawsuit. For each story has much to do with the current situation of gays in America — and in our political system.
But, today after receiving an e-mail from a blog I enjoy, Davids MedienKritik-Online, which offers perhaps the best coverage of the anti-American bias in the European media, it struck me not only how that bias contributed to Europeans’ twisted views of our great nation abroad, but also how similar the attitudes of the European media elite were to attitudes I experienced in Europe approximately twenty years ago when I lived in (then-West) Germany and France. That good blog offers a must-see short two-part video report “on anti-Americanism in European media.”
In my post on the run-up to the French presidential election (won by the unashamedly pro-American Nicolas Sarkozy), I noted that while the “young French intellectuals . . . looked down on America . . ., young French professionals” were fascinated by America, “eager to learn” more about our nation and to associate with Americans. They looked up to the United States and wished their land were more like ours.
It was the élites who scorned us, often based on false images of — and inaccurate information about — our land. The report on Davids MedienKritik confirms that things haven’t much changed in Old Europe. As I learned about the latest European coverage of our homeland, it was as if I was hearing repeated the conversations I had had with European intellectuals and students from universities and secondary schools across the western sections of the continent.
One German high school student, while berating the United States for its involvement in Central America, heralded (à la Michael Moore) Cuba for its excellent health care system and vibrant economy. At least he acknowledged the political repression, but remarked that economic and social progress was more important than freedom. Without even touching his contention that Cuba had a sound economy, I commented that a German living fifty years previously could have used the same argument to justify the Nazi regime. That silenced him. And it stunned me he hadn’t made the connection until I brought it up.
Not long after my encounter with that young (and actually rather fetching) German (at the youth hostel in Perpignan), I met another German (not nearly as fetching) at the youth hostel in Verona. Stunned to learn my nationality after hearing me speak German, he naturally assumed that an American who could communicate in four languages would not have a very high opinion of the then-incumbent American president, Ronald Wilson Reagan.
This young German assumed that Americans had elected Reagan because of their animosity toward other nations — and toward the less fortunate in our own land. He had never previously spoken with an American about the election of the greatest president of the second half of the twentieth century. Nor had he read anything about the United States from the American media (not that that would have been much help).
Like his more fetching fellow citizen, he was dumbfounded (again in the denotative and etymological sense of he word) by my arguments. He did not expect an American to offer a defense of the Gipper in nearly flawless German (while occasionally pausing to to communicate in Italian (or French) with the others at the hostel dinner table).
It was amazing how little both Germans knew about America, yet how strong their opinions were. The former didn’t understand that the Gipper’s policy was to shore up democracy — and fight tyranny — in Central America. Were it not for the bias of their teachers and professors and the anti-American tilt of their media, these Germans might have had a less harsh opinion of the United States — and a greater understanding of its policies, domestic as well as foreign.
Perhaps, the European media elite are so biased against us because of their knowledge of history. They have read about how Europe dominated the world, economically, militarily and culturally, when America was just a backwater. And they resent that the United States has become the world’s strongest nature while their fellow citizens love the American cultural product while (by and large) scorning their own.
Or maybe they resent that we freed their lands from Nazi tyranny. Whatever it is, this short report sums up the bias of the European media.
Please, take the time to watch both segments. And you’ll wonder, as do I, at the narrow attitudes of the European élites. You’ll question why they so hate the nation that, after freeing them from despotism, helped rebuild their nations — and defends them today against the threat of Islamo-fascism.
Were it not for the media bias in Europe, the people there would likely have a better opinion of the United States. And pro-American (or the less anti-American) parties might do better at the polls. Christian Democrat Angela Merkel would likely not have needed to form a coalition government with the Social Democats in order to become Chancellor.* And Sarkozy’s victory margin last month may well have made the Gipper’s two landslide victories seem like cliffhangers.
– B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)
* though her relatively pro-American Christian Democratic/Christian Social Union coalition now polls much better than the more anti-American Social Democrats.