Friday, September 29, 2006

“Great Game (Round Two)”: Kazakhstan to be Featured on “John McLaughlin’s One-on-One” show this Weekend

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John Mclaughlin, host of “John Mclaughlin’s One-on-One”

In dealing with a host of journalists in the last several days in connection with President Nazarbayev’s visit to the U.S., I have found that Kazakhstan as a news story in America’s attention deficit soundbite culture is a difficult one to sell (well, unless you are actually handing out money to do so, that is). Oil-rich, growing economy, poor democracy record, strategically important, U.S. friend in war on terror, benign but corrupt autocracy, Muslim but Soviet, Russia, China, etc., etc. It is just too much for an American audience to handle if one wants to paint an objective picture of Kazakhstan’s complexities. As I have noted elsewhere, the Borat controversy is a much easier story to package for Americans. For that reason, I was glad to be invited to a talk show hosted by John McLaughlin where a full 30 minutes of nationally televised discussion would be devoted to Kazakhstan. McLaughlin himself (whose bio can be found here) said that Central Asia, and Kazakhstan in particular, was too complex of a story for most people to really want to dig into. He, however, did a good job in trying to unpack the contradictions of the situation in a provocative manner. We will see how it looks packaged on the air. The title of the segment on “John Mclaughlin’s One-on-One” is Great Game (Round Two), and I am the featured guest (if you haven’t guessed, this post is shameless self promotion). In addition, the show features a call-in from the Democratic representative from California’s San Fernando Valley, Brad Sherman. The program airs on the NBC affiliate in Washington, DC (WRC-TV, channel 4) at 12:30 pm on Sunday October 1 right after “The McLaughlin Group.” A longer version is syndicated around the country on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). In Washington, DC, the longer version airs at 7:00 am and 1:00 pm on Wednesday October 4 on WETA public television. You can find the schedule for your local PBS station here. For those who do not have access to American public television, the transcript will be posted once the show has aired on Mclaughlin’s website. I hope readers have a chance to tune in!

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