The Beeb's man (JW), after suitable groveling and penitence, went on to say:
A few days ago the reporter was duly hauled up in front of the Feedback programme in order to explain himself. Yet even after apologising for expressing himself "a little too warmly", Webb stood firm:Later, he went out of his way to reject the notion that he had, in that quaint British phrase, "gone native".
...What I was trying to do - and I would say this in mitigation - was puncture an atmosphere which developed, I thought, during this broadcast, and which I think occasionally does develop on the BBC and on other broadcasting outlets, where there is a kind of cosy feeling that somehow if only America would behave differently, then everything in the world would be fine. I think that is a view which does annoy and upset Americans, as I said it did. And it's not just the White House - it is a broader thing than that - and also a view which is, to put it mildly, open to challenge, and that's what I hoped to do....
JW. I don't think there's a double-standard at a conscious level. I don't think the BBC has a double standard. I've never been told what to say one way or the other
RB. But you're saying there's a greater readiness to criticize America than there is to criticize China, or perhaps Saudi Arabia or other countries in the Middle East?
JW. And the reason is , I think, that it's easier, that we have a problem reporting open societies, particularly in a time of great international turmoil and war. It's just easier to criticize, it's easier to get information, it's easier to find people within the society who are immensely critical of it Yet when you think of China, when you think of the Taliban...when you think of the situation in Iran it's just more difficult to get a handle on what's going on in those places. And I think there is a tendency, which we always have to guard against, of being tougher on democratic societies simply because it's easier.
Yeah, well, no kiddin', JW. Even with Chimpy McBu$hitler's Gestapo running the plantation nobody is going to string you up or disappear you.
Another take on rampant international anti-Americanism is available in Jan/Feb Foreign Affairs article David’s Friend Goliath by Michael Mandelbaum. I think there's some room to take issue with some of the assertions Mandelbaum makes but he's got the overall picture correct. It begins:
Everybody talks about the weather, Mark Twain once observed, but nobody does anything about it. The same is true of America’s role in the world. The United States is the subject of endless commentary, most of it negative, some of it poisonously hostile. Statements by foreign leaders, street demonstrations in national capitals, and much-publicized opinion polls all seem to bespeak a worldwide conviction that the United States misuses its enormous power in ways that threaten the stability of the international system. That is hardly surprising. No one loves Goliath. What is surprising is the world’s failure to respond to the United States as it did to the Goliaths of the past.
Sovereign states as powerful as the United States, and as dangerous as its critics declare it to be, were historically subject to a check on their power. Other countries banded together to block them. Revolutionary and Napoleonic France in the late 18th and early 19th century, Germany during the two world wars, and the Soviet Union during the Cold War all inspired countervailing coalitions that ultimately defeated them. Yet no such anti-American alignment has formed or shows any sign of forming today. Widespread complaints about the United States’ international role are met with an absence of concrete, effective measures to challenge, change, or restrict it.The gap between what the world says about American power and what it fails to do about it is the single most striking feature of 21st-century international relations.
In the end, however, what other nations do or do not say about the United States will not be crucial to whether, or for how long, the United States continues to function as the world’s government. That will depend on the willingness of the American public, the ultimate arbiter of American foreign policy, to sustain the costs involved. In the near future, America’s role in the world will have to compete for public funds with the rising costs of domestic entitlement programs. It is Social Security and Medicare, not the rise of China or the kind of coalition that defeated powerful empires in the past, that pose the greatest threat to America’s role as the world’s government.
The outcome of the looming contest in the United States between the national commitment to social welfare at home and the requirements for stability and prosperity abroad cannot be foreseen with any precision. About other countries’ approach to America’s remarkable 21st-century global role, however, three things may be safely predicted: They will not pay for it, they will continue to criticize it, and they will miss it when it is gone.
Along the way he covers a good deal of ground. It is worth the few minutes to read. I take issue with his qualifier that efforts to "challenge, change, or restrict" the US must be "concrete" and "effective" or they are not real. The fact that the UN is feckless and corrupt does not mean it hasn't been seen, and used, in an attempt to - at the very least - restrict the US. Part of the EU's problems, IMO, are directly the fault of the organizational goal of challenging, changing, and restricting the US. And we certainly have seen determined (and somewhat effective) groupings of nations of the Middle East to challenge the Superhyperhegemon. But other than picking that nit...