Thursday, June 10, 2010

Overcoverage of Issues and Events

I have to admit that I’ve been lax in posting. There are two reasons for this outside of the need to actually complete some work. The first is the extreme obviousness of many topics and issues about which I could write if they were not so obvious, and the second is the useless warnings that bubble up about the necessity to deal with these issues to avoid the giant rocks from space that are sure to obliterate the planet if we don’t solve the problem NOW - but, well - let’s just list a few…

Israeli intransigent refusals to deal with any issue to move the region closer to peace,

Iranian intransigent rejection to agree on any solution dealing with anything,

Somali pirates seizing yet another ship (and being paid-off),

German pronouncements on their superior work ethic versus everyone with a shade darker skin colour

Greek worker riots as a result of reduced payments for doing nothing anyway,

Spanish riots as a result of Greek riots and 40% unemployment among youth,

French riots as a result of being French,

G20 meetings,

G8 meetings,

G pick-a-number meetings,

The imminent implosion of the Euro and the end of civilization,

North Korean insanity

In that light, a hat tip to Drezner for posting this:

An ineffectual international organization yesterday issued a stark warning about a situation it has absolutely no power to change, the latest in a series of self-serving interventions by toothless intergovernmental bodies.

“We are seriously concerned about this most serious outbreak of seriousness,” said the head of the institution, either a former minister from a developing country or a mid-level European or American bureaucrat. “This is a wake-up call to the world. They must take on board the vital message that my organization exists.”

The director of the body, based in one of New York, Washington or an agreeable Western European city, was speaking at its annual conference, at which ministers from around the world gather to wring their hands impotently about the most fashionable issue of the day. The organization has sought to justify its almost completely fruitless existence by joining its many fellow talking-shops in highlighting whatever crisis has recently gained most coverage in the global media.

“Governments around the world must come together to combat whatever this year’s worrying situation has turned out to be,” the director said. “It is not yet time to panic, but if it goes on much further without my institution gaining some credit for sounding off on the issue, we will be justified in labeling it a crisis.”

The organization, whose existence the White House barely acknowledges and to which hardly any member government intends to give more money or extra powers, has long been fighting a war of attrition against its own irrelevance. By making a big deal out of the fact that the world’s most salient topical issue will be placed on its agenda and then issuing a largely derivative annual report on the subject, it hopes to convey the entirely erroneous impression that it has any influence whatsoever on the situation.

The intervention follows a resounding call to action in the communiqué of the Group of [number goes here] countries at their recent summit in a remote place no-one had previously heard of. The G[number goes here] meeting was preceded by the familiar interminable and inconclusive discussions about whether the G[number goes here] was sufficiently representative of the international community, or whether it should be expanded into a G[number plus 1, 2 or higher goes here] including China, India or any other scary emerging market country that attendees cared to name.

The story was given further padding by a study from an ambulance-chasing Washington think-tank, which warned that it would continue to convene media conference calls until its quixotic and politically suicidal plan to ameliorate whatever crisis was gathering had been given respectful though substantially undeserved attention.
I'll be back soon  with a post on one or more of the topics listed above. Or maybe something not sufficiently covered by the MSM.

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