what the Matrix is. You have to find out for youself. Today, Paul Krugman is handing out green pills by looking at tv screens on both sides of the rift.

I’m not mainly talking about the print media. […] Most people, though, get their news from TV – and there the difference is immense. The coverage of Saturday’s antiwar rallies was a reminder of the extent to which U.S. cable news, in particular, seems to be reporting about a different planet than the one covered by foreign media.

… On Saturday, news anchors on Fox described the demonstrators in New York as “the usual protesters” or “serial protesters.” …

So it’s not surprising that the target audience is a bit blurry about the distinction between the Iraqi regime and Al Qaeda. Surveys show that a majority of Americans think that some or all of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Iraqi, while many believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in Sept. 11, a claim even the Bush administration has never made. And since many Americans think that the need for a war against Saddam is obvious, they think that Europeans who won’t go along are cowards.

Europeans, who don’t see the same things on TV, are far more inclined to wonder why Iraq – rather than North Korea, or for that matter Al Qaeda – has become the focus of U.S. policy. That’s why so many of them question American motives, suspecting that it’s all about oil or that the administration is simply picking on a convenient enemy it knows it can defeat. They don’t see opposition to an Iraq war as cowardice; they see it as courage, a matter of standing up to the bullying Bush administration.

There are two possible explanations for the great trans-Atlantic media divide. One is that European media have a pervasive anti-American bias that leads them to distort the news, even in countries like the U.K. where the leaders of both major parties are pro-Bush and support an attack on Iraq. The other is that some U.S. media outlets – operating in an environment in which anyone who questions the administration’s foreign policy is accused of being unpatriotic – have taken it as their assignment to sell the war, not to present a mix of information that might call the justification for war into question.

So which is it? I’ve reported, you decide.