Monday, July 14, 2008

"Most paranoid"

I was reading a summary of the recently concluded trial of "lyingeyes". This had completely passed me by until this weekend, but I caught up yesterday. I came across this from the Irish Times:
In Las Vegas, there was the FBI special agent who raided the home of Eid and Engle and, confronted with a possible find of ricin, the third deadliest poison, etc, in one of the world's most paranoid nations, she does not evacuate the area, have the coffee grinder analysed or advise the hapless Lisa Eid to get the hell out of there - she hands her camera to Lisa and asks her to take pictures for the Irish media.
Is the United States one of "most paranoid nations"? I'm not even sure how paranoia should be measured, but to be among the most paranoid I'd assume you'd have to be among the top twenty.

Are there really fewer than 20 more paranoid nations than America? I don't know, but as I peruse the list of UN members I think I see more than 20 nations that should be classified as more paranoid than America.

Reporters Sans Frontières provides an index of press freedom, which is at least some meausre of how paranoid a nation is. And, although I'm pretty skeptical of the rankings, the fact that the United States is listed 48th of the 169 in the list seems to indicate that there are quire a few more paranoid nations than the United States.

That there are 47 countries where the press is freer than America is doubtful to me, but that America is "one of the world's most paranoid nations" is a ridiculous statement. And, it might have been a throwaway line, but it's also indicative of how America is frequently portrayed here and, more importantly, how America is perceived by those in the media.