Tuesday 7 October 2008

BrassCheck TV Didn't Share the Whole Story Today!

(I tried to send BrassCheck TV the following messge today, but it will likely never be read, per their "policy", as explained by their autoresponder. So, I'm posting this copy, hoping others among their readership might gain a fuller picture and have some false assumptions allayed, if directed here.)

Dear friends at BrassCheck TV:

Re: "Who runs your country?" - the episode you sent out today (07 Oct 2008)

I'm an American with progressive political leanings, but now living in the capital city of Australia. I am generally sympathetic to your cause, and you did ask some great questions today!

BUT, you do a great disservice to Australians - and Americans who may now have the wrong impression - by not explaining that the citizens of Australia actually KICKED OUT Prime Minister John Howard last year - precisely for being George W's "puppet!" Stuff like this confirms why the Aussies finally got real tired of Howard's antics.

Please, help remind your readers there has been a major "Regime Change" here, as well -- that this is OLD news and not current reality -- at least not in Australia! We will never see or hear the likes of this coming from the mouth of Australia's current Prime Minister, Labor Party's Kevin Rudd -- a man of much greater character and integrity and definitely NOT a puppet of the Bush Administration. He went to America and told Bush where to get off, and took the Australian troops right out of Iraq ASAP when he came into office, as he promised during his campaign.

I also lived in Canada for three years, long enough to foster some awareness of Canadian politics. As YouTube's description said, that was Steven Harper giving the Canadian speech, and he is indeed their current Prime Minister -- BUT NOT when he offered up that speech when the Liberal Party was still in power!

It was in 2002, when Harper succeeded Stockwell Day as leader of the Canadian Alliance and returned to Parliament as Leader of the Opposition. Then, in 2003, he reached an agreement with Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay for the merger of their two parties to form the Conservative Party of Canada. Steven Harper did not become Canada's Prime Minister until 2004 -- the year AFTER his speech was delivered as part of "the Opposition."

Further, the Liberal Party "splash screen" on YouTube's movie makes it appear to unknowing Americans like an indictment of the Liberal Party in Canada, instead of a piece being sponsored by them! (It's also worth explaining that the Liberal Party in Australia means the opposite from what it means in Canada. Here it's the party of political conservatives: the party of John Howard, the first speechmaker!)

This tells the story of a recent ad sponsored by the Canadian Liberal Party, which reveals this link between Bush, Howard, and Harper. You could have simply said that, and cited your source.

Don't get me wrong - I'm quite happy you picked up on this story about plagiarism and "parroting" Bush. However, even though I think your basic point was worth making from a historical point of view, please - do your homework by adding in a phrase or two of "context" in order to avoid spreading false impressions to your base readership about current reality. Can you send out a postscript?

Americans don't know nearly enough about Australia (nor Canada, their own neighbor to the north) as it is, and good progressive Canadians and Australians who see this piece will certainly be sensitive to these issues -- so why risk alienating them, as well?

Take care,
Clair Hochstetler
(A US citizen from the state of Indiana, recently moved to Canberra)

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