I must admit, I can be a little provincial in my news interests and often switch away from NPR to music when the BBC World Service is on. With all the events in Egypt this past week, I realized, though, that I should definitely listen. Of course, the coverage was excellent, but what most impressed me was the interviewing of James Coomarasamy (great name, huh?). First, he interviewed Dutch anti-Islam activity, Ayaan Hirshi Ali, about Egypt. When she spouted views that seemed to directly contradict the news out Egypt, he pushed back hard and simply refused to let her stick with her talking points. Ali has a number of legitimate points, but she really has to stretch to make the events in Egypt fit them. Coomarasamy simply would not let her make these tenuous connections without being intellectually challenged. You get that sometimes from NPR reporters, but in general, something you get far too rarely from American reporters.
Very next story was about a controversy in England where a family wants a hysterectomy for their severely disabled (i.e., functioning level of a 3 month old baby) 18 year-old daughter. Seems eminently reasonable to me. The disability advocate they had on the show, was well-meaning, but really didn’t make a lot of sense. Coomarasamy pushed back on all the weaknesses in her argument, again rather than let her just go on with talking points unchallenged. The most absurd of which was “we wouldn’t even be having this conversation if the woman was not disabled.” Ummm, yeah. I think that’s the whole point. People who are mentally disabled (especially those with the cognitive functioning of a newborn baby) are different.
Anyway, an excellent display of journalism all around. I think I’ll make a point to listen to a little more BBC and less music while driving to work after dropping Evan off at pre-school.