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Horce Race Coverage Stops at Water’s Edge!

February 26th, 2010 · 2 Comments

In a recent New Yorker piece bemoaning standard Beltway coverage of politics as all maneuvering and image management, George Packer imagined the same style applied to foreign coverage—intending to highlight how absurd it seems:

Speaking at the presidential palace in Kabul, Mr. Karzai showed himself to be at the top of his game. He skillfully co-opted his Pashtun base while making a powerful appeal to the technocrats who have lately been disappointed in him, and at the same time he reassured the Afghan public that his patience with civilian casualties is wearing thin. A palace insider, who asked for anonymity in order to be able to speak candidly, said, ‘If Karzai can continue to signal the West that he is concerned about corruption without alienating his warlord allies, he will likely be able to defuse the perception of a weak leader and regain his image as a unifying figure who can play the role of both modernizer and nationalist.’ Still, the palace insider acknowledged, tensions remain within Mr. Karzai’s own inner circle. At one point during the swearing-in ceremony, observers noted that Mohammad Hanif Atmar, his interior minister, seemed to ignore the greeting of Amrullah Saleh, the intelligence chief. The two have been rumored to be at odds ever since last year’s controversial election. A palace spokesman, speaking on background, denied that the incident had any significance. ‘The sun was in Hanif’s eyes—that’s it,’ the spokesman said.”

Tags: Horse Race Politics · Journalism & the Media



2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jason Miller // Mar 2, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Absence of Malice is coming to mind. Do you really trust our journalists to be able to do this kind of reporting without being used by the political actors whose actions they pretend to interpret in print? I don’t trust their analysis of our leaders’ motives, and I certainly wouldn’t trust it when it comes to reporting about leaders outside the states.

  • 2 エドハーディー // Jan 20, 2012 at 3:31 am

    hips with respect to each other. It would be healthy to remind ourselves a little more regularly that when a statement or action is attributed to an abstract entity—whether it’s a country as a whole or just its government—there are particular political actors with their own, mostly internal, political reasons for doing or saying it. In theory, we