Dubya, Riots, Media and other such Nonsense

by MaxPower

It has been about two weeks since George ‘Dubya’ Bush’s trip to London, Genoa and other European destinations. Time for a recap, why? – he’s leader of the free world haven’t you heard? – and there is always the chance to see some environmental activist running outside downtown London naked shouting at Bush’s motorcade.

Regardless of your personal opinion of George Bush’s leadership qualities, environmental or anti-missile missile policies, one must admit no matter where GB goes people listen… and throw petrol bombs… and riot… and complain about the increasing globalized world. Speaking of which I saw an interesting point in an essay on economic trade which unfortunately I did not footnote; the gist of the article was that there was a higher percentage of international interdependence and trade in the 16th and 17th centuries than there is now. Guess that must mean as Dubya said, more and more of the United States’ imports come from abroad.

Anyway, George Bush stumbles into London and becomes the world’s most famous tourist, he visits the British Museum, whizzes in his motorcade past Trafalgar square (and my window) and onto lunch with the Queen. My point? This was front-page news on CNN. A family touring a major tourist destination, definitely breaking news please note my inherent and overflowing sarcasm. I conclude that the media in their coverage of George Bush’s London Sightseeing Tour is directly responsible for the riots (note I classify those as riots and in no means protests) in Genoa for the G8 summit.

I will clarify; news is big business, the advent of breaking news coverage on TV via CNN and more recently up to the minute coverage of a multitude of sources on the internet has lead to a dramatic shortage of news worthy stories. Globalization in my mind isn’t the horrors of giant corporations going out of their way to screw people as they are made up of, from the ground up, of regular people. Nor is it evil in the sense that it’s the unholy grail of capitalism as is proclaimed by neo-Marxists and their ilk. Globalization is simply that the world is smaller, it is now a global village. A village in which everyone’s movement and dirty laundry is aired for everyone to see and where nothing goes unnoticed.

When did these ridiculous riots at summits such as the one in Genoa come into vogue? 1999 in Seattle is generally accepted as the first large-scale riot where anarchists trashed the city. Why did they proliferate? The media attention was focused almost wholly on the riots and anarchists not the WTO meeting. This caused a backlash that sees protests and inevitable looting in every meeting that has more than two international attendees so that this mishmash of social, environmental and anarchical protestors can get their views aired. Interestingly enough the last few riots (Gothenburg, Genoa) are close to home for many of these protestors. If you are not familiar with inter-European transportation economics let me explain, for approximately 100 bucks Canadian, (60 US or 50 Sterling) one can fly return to most European destinations via low cost airlines. This allows anti-globalization protestors to become increasingly global. They take a ‘weekend break’ from school or university and fly out to a destination with a summit, bust a few windows, loot some capitalist merchandise and fly home in time for Monday morning. This goes back to my point of the world becoming increasingly village-like.

Its Canada’s turn to hold the next G8 summit, so they have to choose a location. Chretien, in what must have been a blinding flash of competency, chose Banff/Canmore/Kananaskis which European media refer to either as ‘secluded mountain resort’ or ‘remote mountain fortress’. All in all a good choice to hold a summit because A) protestors will have to pay extortionate Air Canada fares to get to Calgary (see June R4nt for more details) and then somehow get to the Rockies, B) if the RCMP blocks the road the protestors won’t have anything to trash and C) most media, especially US media couldn’t find Canmore on a map if their life depended on it, thus allowing for smaller media contingency and following that fewer protestors. The number of protestors at any summit is a function of the summit’s geographical location in respect to major population centres, the number of democratically elected world leaders in attendance and finally the number of world media who are out to cover the event.

And so, Dubya’s tour of London shows the lengths international news media will go through for a story which somehow in their mind justifies lavishing extensive coverage on rioters with no discernible platform. Thereby encouraging these same ‘protestors’ to travel round the globe in search of more summits, which in itself encourages the spread of similar ideas across international borders. The spread of ideas and ideals over international borders is something that could be a textbook definition of globalization. In effect those ‘protestors’ are protesting over the exact concept that allows them to attend these conferences.

  • Dubya, Riots, Media and other such Nonsense
  • by MaxPower
  • Published on August 1st, 2001

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