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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 10:47 GMT
Graydon Carter criticises Bush administration
Graydon Carter
Graydon Carter took over Vanity Fair in 1992
In a HARDtalk Extra interview on 29 October 2004 Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, spoke to Gavin Esler about his new book which attacks the Bush administration.

Graydon Carter has edited the glossy magazine Vanity Fair since 1992.

He admits that he hasn't ever voted in a presidential election, and calls himself "more centrist than most people". So why has he chosen to write a book which gives what he calls "a sweeping report card" of the Bush administration?

Carter's book, "What We've Lost", spells out in detail how the Bush administration has affected national security, the environment, freedom of speech and a whole host of other areas of US policy. He told Gavin Esler that he wrote the book as a concerned American.

If I was John Kerry's manager I would give him a baseball glove, a baseball, a field and a sunset
Graydon Carter
"This is one of the few periods when you don't have to be completely unbiased on this subject," he said.

"If you see something that you think is absolutely going in the wrong direction, you have a right or even a duty to speak out."

Fear of terrorism

Vanity Fair has a reputation for its glossy celebrity profiles, illustrated with glamorous and flattering photographs. Indeed, in February 2002, the president and his administration were featured in just such a glowing pictorial.

"We put that together in December 2001. It was a very brittle time in America." Carter said that the magazine was prepared to give the president the benefit of the doubt then. But he admitted that "I don't think we'll be invited back for a photoshoot".

Carter said he doesn't despise President Bush - he said he thinks he's a very decent man. But he said that since 9/11, the president is using patriotism as a stick to keep the press and citizens in line. "He speaks to Americans in a way that they react to. He's using the fear of terrorism as a very effective weapon in this election."


As to the Democratic candidate, Senator John Kerry, Carter believes he is the right man to challenge the president. But he admits that some of the Senator's photo opportunities - snowboarding and mountain-biking - have been ill-advised.

"If I was John Kerry's manager I would give him a baseball glove, a baseball, a field and a sunset."

Carter said the election race is so close that only one thing is certain: "somewhere in November, half the population is going to go away really upset." But he believes that ultimately, voters will make their choice over very simple issues.

"The election seems to be running on one major issues, and that is, will this man make you feel safe, will that man make you feel safe? Or two issues: do you hate this man, do you like this man. It's so simple right now."

HARDtalk Extra can be seen on Fridays on BBC World at 03:30 GMT, 08:30 GMT, 11:30 GMT, 15:30 GMT, 18:30 GMT and 23:30 GMT

It can also be seen on BBC News 24 at 04:30 and 23:30

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman
25 Oct 04 |  Hardtalk

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