Journalism at sea on a “ship of fools”

This piece is worth reading, partly for a summer laugh and partly because it’s one British writer’s wry take on a large and influential chunk of the American media audience. An excerpt from “Ship of Fools” by the Independent’s Johann Hari:

I lie on the beach with Hillary-Ann, a 35-year-old California designer. When I hear her say, “Of course, we need to execute some of these people,” I wake up. Who do we need to execute? “A few of these prominent liberals who are trying to demoralize the country,” she says. “Just take a couple of these anti-war people off to the gas chamber for treason to show, if you try to bring down America at a time of war, that’s what you’ll get.”

I am traveling on a bright white cruise ship with two restaurants, five bars, a casino – and 500 readers of the National Review. Here, the Iraq war has been “an amazing success.” Global warming is not happening. The solitary black person claims, “If the Ku Klux Klan supports equal rights, then God bless them.” And I have nowhere to run.

From time to time, National Review – the bible of American conservatism – organizes a cruise for its readers. I paid $1,200 to join them. The rules I imposed on myself were simple: If any of the conservative cruisers asked who I was, I answered honestly, telling them I was a journalist. Mostly, I just tried to blend in – and find out what American conservatives say when they think the rest of us aren’t listening.

Two questions: An editor should have asked the writer to identify just who that Canadian judge was. And, when will some wit take on a similar assignment, reporting on the Canadian version of these cruises — the ones organized by the Western Standard?

Hat tip to Janet Tate’s press notes at the (U.S.) Society of Professional Journalists