October 21st, 2011

green leaves

Worrying vs. analysis

I was listening to the BBC [1] this morning, and a couple or three commentators were badgering interviewing a woman from Libya.

All their questions were about things that might go wrong, mostly more violence. It was interesting to hear that Libya has three provinces, and people there don't have a sense of national identity. There's lot of weapons floating around, there's no army (or no army that can be trusted).....

The woman was pushing back-- Libyans don't want more fighting, they want to have good lives. Islamists will be permitted to take part in upcoming elections, but Libyans don't want to be ruled by people who'll make them miserable.

None of the moderators seemed interested in what might happen if Libya becomes a country (or three countries, or a confederation of some sort) with a decent income from oil that has its act together.

I've wondered whether the fight against Kadafi has built a sense of national identity, but this is just a guess.

I suggest that analysis would include thinking about good outcomes as well as bad.

ETA: I just realized something else that annoys me about that style of journalism-- the commentators behave as though nothing the interviewee said ever really registers with them.

If I could corner one of those interviewees, I'd ask them if they know how to turn it off when they go home.

[1] I've had enough trouble tracking down anything in particular on their site that I'm just not trying. Either take my word for what they said (a bit chancy, my memory isn't perfect) or I hope some kind person will find a clip.

Also, I don't think I've ever gotten an email through to the BBC. I wonder if there's some issue with the US, but other Americans get quoted, so I don't know.

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