Outrageous Lack of World News Coverage in US Media

Posted on August 31, 2010

There would have been no need for a book about Mexico called Distant Neighbors if we here in the US had always had a broader coverage of news and or television programming.  The same  holds true for what subjects were covered in our schools.  These are old arguments but the urgency for us to know more and more far-ranging information is critical in a global society in which things are moving rapidly and decisions without background information to help you make a good one cannot be tolerated.

But it did not stop at that border.  When I lived in Canada, I used to be chided “I’ll bet you Yank can’t name all of the Canadian provinces.  We can name all of  your states.”  It was a point well-taken.  Of course even within our borders there were unbelievable omissions.  The New Yorker may have had a Paris Letter column but where was the one for, say, the southern, US?

We had exotic examinations of the native people of the South Sea Islands in the National Geographic but where were our natives?  We were bombarded with TV ads to support a child in Kenya but what about a child in Mississippi?  In short:  We had no clear idea of who we were and we had less about others in the world.  We got to know a country either by tourism or fighting a war for or against it on its territory. I once worked for a major pharmaceutical company in an area responsible for formulating new generic and product names.  At hearing one I remember asking – “is that a country?  Are we at war there”?

I check in with media outlets world wide  such as The Financial Times, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, Al Jazeera and others in China, South America and Russia to not only get a broader perspective of the world news, but to get better insight into my own country.  We rarely hear about the third world countries unless there is a catastrophic event.  Time was we would not even hear about those catastrophic events.  But now, with an even more diverse population, we ignore that at our peril.

Brazil is taking an even larger role in the world both economically and politically.  Just where and how do you track that in a way that will give you a good overview and sense of the size of the animal?  Probably in one of the news outlets in the middle east where Brazil has been so active in trade and diplomacy lately.  We also need to identify major South American outlets for information as well.

Granted, the New York Times or any other quasi “national” newspaper here can’t cover it all but an attempt would be nice.  Our future depends on more than just US political elections.  It depends on the outcome of elections in other countries aside from Afghanistan and Iraq.  It depends on the less catastrophic and more of the average news coming out of one of our allies’ news services.  The British budget for arms may be down. [newsmaxworld.com]  They are at our side in two theaters of war.  That’s important to track.  We may have to pick up that slack.

In short.  Our future depends on a great deal of information that gets by us.  We are no longer an educated democracy.  We need to put this on the fix list.

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