American Views Abroad

Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Richard Cohen is a columnist for The Washington Post and the New York Daily News. About two years ago he spoke at the American Club of Hamburg and appeared badly shaken by his experience of being rather roughly treated, verbally, by some American guests at a speech he had given the previous day in Berlin. He seemed astonished that there were people, more to the point, other Americans, who did not share his opinion that the war in Iraq was the right thing to do. He was so taken aback by criticism directed at him that he found the appropriate response was to explain to his Hamburg audience how it felt to be in New York City on that dreadful day, Sept. 11, 2001. This audience was a good mixture of Germans, in particular some very prominent German journalists who had taken a few hours off in the middle of the day to hear a Washington Post columnist, business people, German and US military and a scattering of private US citizens. It was embarrassing to hear him try to explain to Europeans how it feels to be attacked, to be bombed. It was embarrassing that a US columnist for a leading US paper obviously had no idea who his audience was or the history of the town he was speaking in. He acted as if he and he alone had invented the wheel, at least as far as being attacked goes. The major part of his speech was trying to explain how it feels not knowing if you are going to survive it all or not, the terror one feels at the randomness bombings tend to provoke. He did on that day post a column with the dateline Hamburg. Reading that column one would never have had the feeling he supported the war (at least back then).

On May 6 this site wrote about the Colbert speech presented at the White House Press Corps Dinner with the President in attendance and sitting only a few feet away from Colbert. Cohen, who had not attended the dinner but watched it on C-Span, wrote a damning article on Colbert's speech. In Harper's News Update which appears once a week, there is a reference to an article about Cohen and this speech in Washington as well as a general appraisal of Cohen's columns. It is worth reading at Richard Cohen: a Scientific Inquiry.

Comments: Post a Comment

Disclaimer: American Views Abroad is not responsible for offsite content. All links in blog entires are external offsite links, unless otherwise indicated.