Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Obama's Europe For Dummies
Along with dumbing things down for Pbama, The White House is dumbing things down for American reporters. The Telegraph:
...here's what the White House is telling American reporters - and by extension the American people - about Britain. It's laid out in an inch-thick "press kit", with the Seal of the President of the United States emblazoned on the cover, handed out to each of us on board the White House press charter en route from Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington to Stansted.
The United Kingdom, we are told, is "slightly smaller than Oregon". As for the the British climate, it is "generally mild and temperate" and "subject to frequent changes but few extremes of temperature". A "group of islands close to continental Europe", Britain has been "subject to many invasions and migrations".
After the country sections, we're introduced the personalities, with information mainly culled from their websites. Queen Elizabeth "enrolled as a girl Guide when she was eleven, and later became a Sea Ranger", we are informed. During the war she "put on pantomimes with the children of members of staff for the enjoyment of her family and employees of the Royal Household".
Gordon Brown's entry reads a little like one of those awful Christmas round robins. Young Gordon, we are told repeatedly, was very, very clever. He "did well a school from an early age" and then "excelled at sport and joined in every aspect of school life, quickly becoming popular".
For those who might bristle at the "slightly smaller than Oregon" description of Britain (which seems to originate from the CIA World Factbook), US geographical comparisons are also included in the other country profiles prepared by the State Department's Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.
Germany - a "reliable US ally" since 9/11 - is "about the size of Montana" while the Czech Republic "about the size of Virginia".
We are informed that France is "America's oldest ally" and was "instrumental in helping Britain's American colonies establish independence" and more recently has been "a close partner with the US in the war on terror".
It is the largest country in Europe. But only "about four-fifths the size of Texas".
Oregon, by the way, has a population of 3.7 million while the population of the UK is more than 60 million.
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