Sunday, September 27, 2009

The end of the world (as we know it)

When CNN has foreign leaders of countries interviewed by Larry King (Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran) and Fareed Zakaria (Moammar Khaddafy of Libya) you have to wonder if the world is coming to an end. It didn't take long to put my fears to rest, however. Before I begin to critique these interviews, let me state that I never watch Larry King, because he usually interviews brainless celebrities and couldn't ask a smart question if it bit him. I do watch Fareed Zakaria quite a bit and have a fair amount of respect for his questioning style. I am usually not a tv viewer except for a few of my favorite people, like Bill Moyers on PBS, and pride myself on investigating both sides of any story or interview I watch. I have always believed that you should know how both sides of any issue feel, and then make your decision based on your own feelings and experience.
So when I heard that Hugo Chavez was going to be on Larry King, I decided to watch it. We have been brainwashed in the U.S. to think that anyone who isn't American is lacking in intelligence. In my reading about Chavez, I have found him to be highly intelligent and have come to admire him. Needless to say, Larry King was not only overmatched by Chavez' calm and measured answers to the questions, but also upstaged by Chavez, who knows how to play to the camera. Larry King had obviously thought Chavez would be a pushover for his list of questions right out of the mouths of American politicians. Boy, was he wrong! I laughed as Hugo led him around like a puppy on a leash.
Then came the interview with Ahmadinejad. By that time I almost felt sorry for Larry King. Who at CNN had roped him into this assignment? By the time he kept asking the president of Iran if he believed the Holocaust had happened for the umpteenth time, I no longer felt sorry for him. His question had been answered by Ahmadinejad when he said that it makes you wonder why politicians fixate on an historical event and fear any investigation of it. Larry King was too dumb to realize that by calling it an historical event, Ahmadinejad had already acknowledged it was, indeed, real. Not to be thwarted in his attempt to "trick" the president of Iran to give him an answer, King repeated it yet again. And again. And again. Again he was outclassed by the calm, measured demeanor and speech of a man who wouldn't be tricked. Larry King should just stick to Interviewing celebrities, at least then he won't come off as a network mouthpiece and can still keep his ratings safe. He looked so frustrated, which made him look silly next to the mild-mannered soft-spoken president of Iran. He was so calm, like Chavez, he made good use of the camera. He definitely has a point when he asks what the Palestinian people had to do with the extermination of millions of Jewish people by the Germans in Europe. Absolutely nothing.
Next was the interview of Khaddafy by Zakaria. I didn't finish watching the whole thing (I did watch the whole speech that Khaddafy gave to the U.N.Assembly) because it became apparent to me that Zakaria had been influenced by his boss at CNN or someone, to only ask questions that would make Moammar Khaddafy look even more bizarre than he did on his own. If you ever need a hairdresser, please don't ask Moammar Khaddafy for the contact information for his! The guy is so flamboyant he gives a whole new meaning to the word. Anyway, I thought that Khaddafy has made some good points in his speech to the U.N. Assembly about the imperial overreach of our own government and others, and had hoped that Zakaria would zero in on some of that, but it soon became obvious that it was just another network hatchet job. I have seen Fareed Zakaria do some good work in the past, but this was not his finest hour. It was like watching a drunk get beat up. Sorry, that's my opinion.
We Americans need to start doing our own investigation and our own thinking. Don't let tv pundits and commentators color your outlook on the world. If you read something written BY these three interviewees instead of something written ABOUT them, you will get a much more accurate picture of their beliefs and values. Just because they're not American doesn't make them stupid. However, believing everything reported on tv as gospel truth could certainly make you run the risk of being duped! Use the brain you have, don't give others the power to make your mind up for you. You may even find out that Americans are not as all powerful and smart as they think, humility can be a great tool for learning about the rest of the world. Go on, make up your mind all by yourself! Now, that's power.

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