September 17, 2021

Professor Sweeney I Presume?: The Analytic Storm in Auntie’s Tea-cup

Holding barbed wire and looking sad; failing to analyze the ground at Sweeney's feet

Like a lot of the British middle-class I am virtually perpetually listening to BBC Radio 4, It is a clock that regulates the days, and a kind of mental sustenance that can be brought even up to the peaks of a long hike over the Pennines of northern England. My interest was well and truly piqued therefore on Monday 8th of April when the important ‘PM’ news programme featured an interview with journalist John Sweeney about his recent exploits in the DPRK.

Sweeney is famous in the UK for having completely freaked out during his investigation of the Church of Scientology for the BBC’s Panorama (captured hopefully forever on YouTube). After Sweeney’s apoplectic outburst BBC-ophiles thought his hysterical approach to journalism was gone for good. But, as the events of recent weeks in Korea have attracted a certain type of mania, somehow he resurfaced. While Sweeney was far from the ideal candidate to offer reportage north of the DMZ any crumbs commissioned by the BBC on the issue—an issue which is generally lost in a neglectful haze of confused disdain, semi-racism and a sort of uncomprehending “eh?” in the British media-- are welcome for their potential authoritativeness.