LONDON—A few days ago, I had lunch with a British friend I have known for many years, and no sooner had we settled ourselves into our chairs in our favorite Chinese restaurant in Soho than she began to rail at me about President Donald Trump.
Her venom was breathtaking. It is one thing to criticize a world leader, but she was out of control. Here is a lady who possesses a brain, but her accusations against the president were irrational. She screamed at me, “How can Americans be so stupid as to elect a madman who is also a moron?”’
I tried to remind her that Lord Black had been on the BBC’s “Newsnight” lauding Trump’s brilliance back when they had been fellow students at the Wharton School, but she continued in the same vein.
“How can you possibly defend this obscene imbecile who talks about grabbing p***y?” I calmly pointed out that my late father, a man of great dignity, did tell me that “conversation could get pretty colorful” when a bunch of men got together on a business trip.
Trump-hatred like that from my lunch companion isn’t anything new. It goes hand-in-hand with anti-Americanism, a phenomenon that developed over the past century as the United States metamorphosed from being a curiosity—the Wild West mixed with quaint silent movie melodrama—to being a major world power.
In my book “Don’t Tread on Me: Anti-Americanism Abroad,” I examine the evolution of America-hatred, most particularly since World War II. In 2016, the visceral hostility to U.S. soccer coach Bob Bradley by Swansea City soccer fans was something to behold, When I was on talk radio, fans rang in to tell me, “We don’t want Americans in Wales.”
Sanders and Trump
Let me put my cards on the table: I am what you would call a Demublican. I liked a lot of what Bernie Sanders had to offer; the British media never focused on his interesting views on NAFTA, TPP, Big Pharma, and college tuition—similar to the views of Trump! But I regarded him as a fringe insurgent. (In her book “What Happened?”, Hillary Clinton keeps referring to the Sanders campaign as an “insurgency.” Does she, or the British media, “get” why so many folks who had supported Bernie in the primaries ended up voting for Trump? No.)
In July 2016, I predicted Trump would win in November, and a few days before the presidential election, the executive editor of the New York Times told the BBC’s “Newsnight,” “Do not underestimate the fury of millions of Bernie Sanders voters.”
Aside from the fact that the achievements on the economy, overtures to North Korea, and warnings to the Federal Reserve about raising interest rates are to Trump’s credit, what I find fascinating is that he has never traduced Sanders, always remarking that the DNC “stitched Bernie up in the primaries.”
Likewise in my broadcasts since the election, I have repeatedly asserted that it is unlikely Russia could have interfered in the process. On Thanksgiving 2016, a group of Hillary-supporting friends was hyperventilating about “the Russians!” My view? If Putin employed election-hacking geniuses. why did Clinton win the popular vote and why didn’t she lose as spectacularly as George McGovern in 1972?
What has struck me in recent years here in Britain is the general populace being heavily influenced by a coterie of left-leaning, U.S.- and Israel-bashing television and print-media commentators who appear on a regular basis on panel discussions, talk shows, and news analysis programs. In fact, I often wonder if these people don’t have a permanent bunk in TV network bed-and-breakfast facilities.
In Parliament, live televised debates on whether the president should be barred from visiting the United Kingdom were carried for all to see and hear, with astounding epithets being voiced by parliamentarians about Trump. The general public could be excused for thinking he was a cross between Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson.
The Case of Fox News
An environment in which the electorate doesn’t see another viewpoint is a powerful phenomenon to behold. Yes, the Daily Mail, a conservative newspaper, has a large readership and has contributed to the success of the Tory party. What disturbs me is the curious case of Rupert Murdoch removing Fox News from Britain’s screens. His rationale? Low viewership—he claimed only 2,000 souls were watching each day.
I found this odd. It’s possible he was telling a fib because he wanted so much to have a bigger stake in British media and didn’t want to discuss the government reprimanding Fox for bias. Sad, though, I know it is much-missed by British audiences.
Even my liberal friends said they liked dipping into Fox News to “hear what the other side was thinking” and those with a conservative leaning found it a refreshing change from the BBC and Channel Four liberal content. (Channel Four was the focus of attention when its anchorwoman, Fatima Manji, wore a hijab when reporting on the July 2016 Nice terrorist truck attack. Its main anchor, Jon Snow, recorded a personal video passionately condemning Israel for its bombardment of Gaza in 2014. I have yet to see a network anchor given airtime to praise Israel for defending herself against relentless terror attacks.)
The conservative-leaning LBC Radio has moved to the left. In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, LBC and other media, including David Attenborough in a newspaper column, have lambasted Brexiteers, and the presence on debate programs of those favoring Brexit has been outweighed by “Remoaners”—those who regret the vote to leave the EU. Interestingly enough, in the lead up to Trump’s UK visit, I was on LBC radio discussing the “baby Trump balloon”—a caricature of the president of the United States flown in protest of his visit. Listeners—those I would identify as the Fox fans—telephoned the station to say “We wish we had a Donald Trump.”
I particularly love the story of the British aircraft carrier Ark Royal, whose sailors got so angry at BBC coverage of the lead-up to the 2003 Iraq intervention—they considered it the Iraqi slant rather than the Coalition slant—that they demanded Fox-owned Sky News be piped into the ship rather than BBC. They got their wish.
I may not like some of Trump’s views, but in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” Marc Antony says:
“The evil that men do lives after them;
“The good is oft interred with their bones.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.