Tim Blair


New Criterion



Tuesday, May 27, 2003
MARGARET THROSBY is one of Auntie's Classic FM presenters. The task of this honey voiced lass is to talk about the next recording while the producer changes the stylus. She has minders to provide scripting, no doubt, and so talk grows and music fades, and that sector of the audience that still misses its father/mother writes gushing letters of appreciation to ABC management.

Alas, all too often the medium wishes to become a message too. The presenter becomes interviewer and soon, like the junkie on the slippery slope to addiction, we see him or her sliding into serial commentary. A vice which Margaret demonstrates less frequently than most. Were her name not Margaret, Uncle might forbear to point this current instance out.

Leading to this morning's interview with digger of ancient dirt, archaeologist Dan Potts, Margaret makes the observation that the looting of the Iraq national museum has been likened to Genghis Khan's behaviour in the distant past.

I'm sure it has been, but inappropriately. You see Genghis was a foreigner who not only pinched the treasures and laid waste the city but also turned Baghdad from a cultured capital into a ragged outpost.

In the recent case, the laying waste was done by the locals. Baghdad is still standing, and it is a little premature to say that the foreigners have made Iraq into a minor province.

I'm sure Biffer Balding would want us to believe that such twisted representations of current events have no political content whatever.