Monday, January 05, 2004

The Irish Independent claims that Colum McCann is an "award winning Irish writer", which I'm sure he is. McCann is the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence at Baruch College in the City University of New York. I'm guessing his award was not for his political analysis.

I would not deny Mr. McCann's right or the Irish Independent's right to publish his opinion. That's their prerogative. However, there's also no denying that McCann's column in Saturday's Independent fits a well-establish pattern for the Irish media when they attempt to analyze American politics.

McCann is writing about, which McCann notes is "designed to bring ordinary people back into politics". The problem with this piece is that it fails to provide any indication of where fits in the American political spectrum (well left of center), how wide-spread its ideas or the "palpable anger" that is tapping into really are. That anger has so far propelled Howard Dean to the leadership position in the Democratic nomination process, but it will not a be a sufficient motivation for the American people to vote against President Bush in November.

The most recent poll I could find showed that President Bush had a 20 point lead over Howard Dean. McCann's failure to mention this or that is getting a significant chunk of change ($10m or so) from billionaire George Soros means that the Independent's readers are not fully informed.

If this were an isolated case or one of a number of columns presenting different views of the current state of US politics it would not be an issue. Unfortunately, this is the sort of coverage that will leave Irish voters wondering "how on Earth did George Bush get elected", something I often heard after the 2000 election.