Friday, March 20, 2009

West gets an F-

I am flunking the Western news for their media coverage (or the lack thereof to be exact) of international conflicts. While I realize money is tight, the complete lack of original international coverage is disturbing, unacceptable, and downright embarassing. This only adds flame to the fire burning around the world that Americans are self-obsessed and know nothing of the rest of the world.

I feel this is more than an economic issue, there was a lack of coverage before the collapse began. I think it is because as Americans, we think we are isolated from the problems and discoveries of the rest of the world. What could affect us?

This attitude shapes our news. For example, FOX news will broadcast about the same three stories all day dealing with the economy or American politics. But for international coverage, Shepard Smith, the only man with a brain at FOX news, will do around the world in 80 seconds. This is pretty representative of the other American news stations as well. A whole world gets 80 seconds. We need help.

This issue goes back to the fundamental question of the people's want to know vs. their need to know. People may not care what's happening in Afghanistan, but maybe it is because no one is telling them about it!

I do give BBC news an A+ for international news coverage. They are the gods of news. They are fair, accurate and very comprehensive. I will watch an American broadcast, and then go to BBC, and they have everything the American stations don't. Imagine that.

I also think that American journalism needs to not only cover conflicts abroad, but in-depth feature stories as well, and even issue-related stories that go untold. I thought that part of journalism's social responsibility was to give voice to the voiceless. We are not representing an accurate picture by omission of how foreign matters play into our everyday lives (which, surprise, they do). We are failing at educating people. We live in a global economy, with wars within wars occuring, and scientific discoveries are made everyday that do not make the American news. This is not ethical, nor responsible.

1 comment:

  1. I think that the reason a majority of Americans aren't aware of what is happening in the world at large is because of the lack of in-depth reporting on world affairs. If one was to open a newspaper today with little to no knowledge on foreign affairs,the complexity and length of some of the conflicts covered would baffle anyone. And there is no in-depth coverage to reveal the histories of these controversies. It remains much easier for citizens to be ignorant, than for them to learn about what is happening abroad.