Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Return Of The Kremlinologists

Soviet paranoia meant that for most of the time during the Cold War we didn't really know much of what went on behind the Iron Curtain. Hence, the reliance on Kremlinologists, the folks who assured us that the fact that Trud had a front page article praising farmers in Belorus really indicated that the KGB was losing power in the Politburo. In other words, the political equivalent of tealeaf readers. That's what you're stuck with when you're dealing with a government that lies like a rug and a puppet press.

I thought that was all behind us but now, fifteen years after the Berlin Wall fell, it seems we need our own Kremlinologists to work out what's going on in this country. We get the official line on the War on Terror, the media eats it up with a spoon, then we hear reports like this. This is the perfect barometer of how low British journalism has sunk: from William Howard Russell to Basil Fawlty in 150 years.

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