Tim Blair


New Criterion



Tuesday, October 12, 2004
John Howard's assault on the US media's coalition of the unwilling is reported here.
It was an impressive achievement, but it received about as much ink in major U.S. newspapers as Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles. USA Today Monday buried a brief item on page 13A. The New York Times ran a pair of articles Sunday on page 16 of the first section and buried in a week-in-review section. The first piece, by reporter Raymond Bonner, made the sketchy anecdotal case that this vote was mostly about the economy, not Howard's decision to go to war alongside the U.S. in Iraq and to continue to stick it out there with a small troop presence. In the second piece, Jane Perlez argued that the two candidates "differed primarily about who can hand out the most money to maintain the hedonistic lifestyle of many Australians" and then accused the nation of ethnic insensitivity toward its Asian neighbors.

I try to resist the urge to attribute poor foreign coverage in the American press to an ideological bias.... But sometimes the critics have a point. In this case, you have a stunning win by a "center-right" party that has, in the terms of modern small 'l' liberal parlance, shrunk in office. Howard's Liberals has refused to sign the Kyoto climate treaty and sided with loggers against greens in a conflict over old harvesting old growth timber in Tasmania. They have restricted immigration and taken a hard line on asylum seekers (as a result of the government's policies and campaign finance scandals, support for the Buchananite One Nation Party utterly collapsed). Parliament this year banned gay marriage. The new government is poised to cut taxes and ink a free trade agreement with New Zealand.
And it impacts on the big US campaign issue, Iraq. Just like Spain, but without the headlines.

Jeremy Lott takes the war to the liberal US media. Keep your head down.

Later: South Africa outguns the US.
Boring Howard does it again

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has been accused of turning his back on Asia, kowtowing to the United States and being Australia's most bland leader.

A leader who once held a beer-drinking record at Oxford University, Howard has made his blandness and conservatism his main selling points.
Ex-PM Bob Hawke is reported (in South Africa) to be suing Howard for breach of copyright.