May 04, 2005

It's a Problem of Representation

Everybody always complains that the US coverage of international news is, uh, non-existent. But rather than be quick to judge (you know how much I hate doing that), I thought, on the eve of the British election, I would check just how non-existent its US news coverage was.

And, in fact, it was about as comprehensive as you could ask for. CNN had the story on the front page, and even the much-maligned Fox News had a link to a video story on its front page.

But on the MSNBC frontpage, there was not a link to be seen. "No problem", I thought. "I'll just click on their 'International News' link." Only they didn't have one! In between 'Business', 'Sport', 'Entertainment', 'Weather', 'Health', and even 'Blogs Etc.', they couldn't squeeze in a 'World' button:

Okay, okay, I eventually found it as a subheading in news. But even when I got to the 'International News' section, this is what I found:

Ahem. That is: Iraq, Iraq, Iraq, Iran, Iraq, Israel. And then, at the bottom: Tony Blair and Iraq. I also enjoy that their third headline is "Poll: Americans say war not worth it". Apparently 'international news' now constitutes asking Americans what they think of international politics.

It's fair enough, though. I think the topic they chose instead for their 'Special Coverage' section is far more relevant to the contemporary global political situation:

Sigh. I know we don't have an empire anymore, but are we really so unimportant that the Vietnam war continues to have more significant repercussions than who our Prime Minister is? Ouch.


At 8/5/05 11:44, Blogger Confused as usual said...

Well, obviously supporting the US in its war has not been successful in putting the UK and its leader on America's mental map, tho' Bush is surely needing some colonic intervention to remove Tony by this time. Americans seem most interested in people who attack them or people whose country they invade. Thus, your choices are either to be happy about their continued disregard, or to launch some kind of invasion of the US, or to try and arrange for the US to invade Britain (trickier). That ought to get the New Yorker's attention! And the British people could return to what they like best, i.e. picking their way through the rubble while eating appalling food and saying 'There's a war on, you know'.

Americans don't know much about Canadians either, except that post 'South Park' they have some idea that they are people whose heads don't join up in the middle.


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