Azara Blog: John Lloyd, the worst FT columnist?

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Date published: 2006/01/28

The worst thing about most newspapers are the columnists, who almost invitably spew nonsense about the world. The Financial Times, perhaps the greatest newspaper in the world, is unfortunately not immune from this disease. Indeed most of their columnists are mediocre at best, even the financial ones. One of the worst is John Lloyd, who seems to hate the media but of course is part of the media. This weekend's example (subscription service) is fairly typical:

George Clooney, the latest Hollywood star to hate George W. Bush for overthrowing a genocidal dictator, has made a film about the broadcaster Ed Murrow...

Such insight. Considering Lloyd always tries to come across as the seasoned analyst, he is marvellously idiotic when it comes to the war in Iraq (as are most apologists for the war). George Bush did not launch his illegal invasion of Iraq mainly to overthrow a genocidal dictator. He did it for party political reasons (in particular to make himself look good). The fact that Saddam Hussein was genocidal was neither here nor there to the American government (including many in the current administration) for decades until he got uppity and tried to steal Kuwait from under the noses of the Americans. Plenty of people "hate" (more like despise) George Bush because he is a perfect example of how stupidity and arrogance are a lethal combination, especially when you have the world's largest arsenal at your beck and call, and are totally incompetent and corrupt and nasty to boot. The people of Iraq are a side show for George Bush.

Onto the next great Lloyd insight, when trying to claim that television was so much better in the good old days:

Channel 4 - established to raise television”s game in arts, films and, yes, current affairs - was broadcasting the latest episode of Celebrity Big Brother, in which the radically anti-American member of parliament, George Galloway, cavorts and gossips with faded celebrities.

Well Galloway is a bit of an idiot, but has anyone ever heard him be "radically anti-American"? Or is just that he is "radically anti-American government"? This "minor" distinction might be too subtle for Lloyd to grasp, or perhaps he made this "mistake" in his prose on purpose, to aid his black propaganda.

Then we go for the truly comic, when Lloyd tries to say that perhaps the modern world is not that bad after all:

We don”t seem to get any stupider. Schools and universities keep reporting better test results.

Well, we probably aren't getting "any stupider" (whatever that means). But the idea that "better test results" prove this is hilarious. All they prove is that grade inflation can be built into the system (and there is every incentive for it to happen).

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