Every time there’s a TV Sweeps Week, when the Neilsen-rating results come out there’s a loser, and the loser always grumbles about how the methodology is busted and they’re really not doing that bad. Similarly, whenever Amnesty International points the finger at some government, that government makes like a losing TV network and whines that the process is broken. Recently, Amnesty had some pretty harsh things to say about the collateral human-rights damage from the US “War on Terror”. Dick Cheney snarled predictably and the right-wing blogosphere is pushing back mightily: “AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL seems to have flushed its credibility...” and there are pages of outrage based, not on the substance of what Amnesty said, but on their temerity in comparing Gitmo to a gulag; thus, thousands of words explaining that the gulags were much, much worse; indeed they were and that was dopey of Amnesty. But it’s just so totally like how Central American dictators used to say “But the Communists are worse” and Communist governments used to say “But the Apartheid racists are worse” and Apartheid racists used to say “But the black-ruled dictatorships are worse.” I’m not an American, so this is just a hint from a friendly neighbor: being better than the gulags isn’t good enough. When your Neilsen ratings are bad, you need to run better shows, and when Amnesty gets on your case, you need to stop brutalizing people.


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June 02, 2005
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