Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Are we engrossed in fantasy?

By mind21_98 in Media
Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 07:16:06 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

I had a discussion with a friend on AOL Instant Messenger and we were talking about how much international media is seen by the American public. After doing research, I found some surprising information about how much international news is actually shown on American media.

The Christian Science Monitor says in this article: "In the 1960s, at least 40 percent of US television news was international. By the late '90s, that figure was between 7 and 12 percent, according to a November 1998 article in the American Journalism Review by longtime foreign-correspondent Peter Arnett." This is a disturbing trend that could be responsible for the rampant apathy in society.

Take, for example, the Middle East. American media sources are noticeably less descriptive about what goes on over there, and are even horribly biased in some cases to the US government's point of view. In the meantime, media sources are more open about what goes on. Even respected US publications are not immune to extreme bias, according to this article at Village Voice:

The International Herald Tribune refused to publish a photo of an Israeli soldier aiming his M16 at an unarmed Palestinian, because "it looks like the kid is about to be killed."
The above quote is only one example of the problems with American media, but incorrect reporting may have already caused damage. Forty percent of Americans support Israel, while only ten percent support the Palestinian cause (http://www.jewishsf.com/bk001208/comm2.shtml). On the other hand, people in other parts of the world are more likely to support the Palestinians in their efforts for peace.

Is this apathy effecting how much Americans know about the world around them? Are they shown a variety of other viewpoints besides what the media wants them to see? Is this feeding sterotypes of others? Or do Americans not want to see anything about the world whatsoever?


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Are you sasitified with the quality of American journalism?
o Yes 3%
o No 70%
o I don't read American news 26%

Votes: 134
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o AOL Instant Messenger
o Christian Science Monitor
o this article
o this article [2]
o Village Voice
o http://www .jewishsf.com/bk001208/comm2.shtml
o Also by mind21_98

Display: Sort:
Are we engrossed in fantasy? | 48 comments (46 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
The News v. "the news" (3.70 / 10) (#1)
by Signal 11 on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 04:34:22 PM EST

I think what you're seeing is more a generation gap than a problem. Baby boomers suffer from addiction to The News - remember, television and radio were not nearly as ambigious as they are today at the time. Also at the time, there was quite a bit more seriousness in news organizations - because everyone was watching, a single slip-up or bad report could spell disaster for public opinion.

I only consider the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and BusinessWeek to be highly trustworthy - equivalent to the BBC, another news source I respect. Most outlets, in particular FOX News, publicize sensationalistic stories with little regard for the facts at hand, and routinely exaggerate and bias things. Most all local news / television media is biased - sometimes to the point of irrationality. In Minnesota, the Pioneer Press ran an article on "racial profiling" claiming a substantial disparity between the number of whites pulled over and the number of blacks, and then also on the same story were statistics noting how many of each got tickets. A careful examination, however, revealed only one year had been used, an in addition, the statistics for blacks v. whites were from 1998 statistics, while the number of tickets per group were 1999 statistics. Such sloppy work is common at the local, and even national, level.

This has contributed to many people in my generation (I'm 21) simply rejecting the news as a reliable method of obtaining factual information. Other than to make passing mentions of the latest stories (say the Seattle earthquake this week), it's just not talked about much. OTOH, so-called "reality TV" is quite the gossip right now. But news is more or less ignored because it is viewed as biased, sensationalistic, and pandering to "old people". IMO, that is a correct statement.

Just ask someone who is 35+ what they thought of this year's presidential elections - did they stay up late at night watching the TV for the latest state-by-state results? Did they follow every development? Do they watch the news every night and read the papers as part of their daily ritual? Probably. Now ask someone who's my age - they might subscribe to Time magazine, but it's unlikely they'll have a subscription to any daily newspapers. What news they do get they probably view online at night while waiting for their MP3s to download. They probably didn't even vote in the elections, let alone actually stayed up late into the night listening to the reports. More likely they got a good night's sleep and wondered what all the hoopla was the next day - who the f*ck cares who gets into office?

Call it information overload, news apathy, or any other buzzword. The fact of the matter is we don't take the news seriously, and that's why we don't watch it anymore. Even the news itself is taking itself less seriously these days.

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Not true (4.60 / 5) (#6)
by DeadBaby on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 05:11:21 PM EST

I'm 20 years old. I read almost every major newspaper (most online because I cannot afford them all) I often watch CSPAN or CNN during the day and watch the News Hour on PBS and The News on MSNBC with Brian Williams. I don't subscribe to Time or Newsweek but I buy them often.

So your statement can be summed up that YOU personally don't care about the world enough to know what's going on. Please don't lump the entire age group into this very sad and narrow minded view of the world.

I understand what you're saying and it's true, the mass majority of people don't read/watch/listen to the news but I am sickened by it enough without being dragged into it by stereotypes.

How can you know what you believe in if you don't even know what the choices are?

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
don't you get tired? (3.00 / 3) (#8)
by Seumas on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 05:20:17 PM EST

How do you have the stamina and patience to hear the same old "You mean republicans!" and "you filthy democrats!" day in and day out? That's all it amounts to. I used to be a news addict, especially revolving around government and politics and I just got sick of the never-changing finger-pointing of every side, when they're all wanting to stick something in our asses (the only difference between the sides is what they're going to stick in there). Even more draining is the repeated examples of how almost everyone follows the party-line like a mindless droid. "Oh, some pointy eared brow-beater told me the republicans want to rape me and leave me dying on the street, so I'm going to vote against such and such a policy so I can keep my ass cheeks together" or "so and so blue-blood told me the democrats won't be happy until they have their hands in my uterus and their fingers around my children, so I'm going to vote for this and that to protect my children". It's all just a bunch of brainless following and no leading. And unless you have a few million to spare and an ivy-league education (and are willing to follow the party-line anyway) you're not going to get anywhere from which you can change anything. Keeping up with the papers, CNN (bah, talk about biased), MSNBC, CNBC, FOXNews, O'Reilly, NewsWeek, Time, WorldNews and everything else just serves to reinforce the displays of idiocy that we're all familiar with.
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]
Filters... (none / 0) (#14)
by titus-g on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 06:15:20 PM EST

There's a pretty major flaw in what you're saying, just I can't figure out what it is.

It can be your homework :)

And btw, it'd be kinda nice if some +40's or so could chip in now with their views, I'm feeling damn old with all the 20 + or - 1 qualifications going on.

--"Essentially madness is like charity, it begins at home" --
[ Parent ]

How about 35? (5.00 / 1) (#38)
by Imagine This on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 05:20:17 PM EST

And btw, it'd be kinda nice if some +40's or so could chip in now with their views, I'm feeling damn old with all the 20 + or - 1 qualifications going on.

Not 40+, how about 35? Or does that just make me a bit ahead of my time? :)

I can't remember the last time I turned on the news, or read a paper, expecting to be informed. The last time I voted was when I was 18.

I often wonder, is that when I became apathetic, or when I suddenly realized what was really happening? Did the Republican and Democratic parties suddenly become identical, or did I finally notice neither actually accomplished anything? Least of all, thier campaign "promises" ("...read my lips, no new taxes...").

Like Signal 11, I reject mainstream media as usefull: I did not follow even a microsecond of the election.

NPR and such may be less biased, but to my mind, equally useless. More equal maybe. But unless it stirs people to action, what good is it? What do those from NPR DO to solve the problems? What do thier listeners do? Do they report solutions and success stories, or just the problems? Do they report hope as well as dismay? Perhaps I'm to hard on them. Admitadly, solutions start with awareness. But awareness without action is hardly an advancement to be proud of.

The news media may be biased and sensationalist, but that's human nature, so not the problem (except for the gullible). Filter the news, just like you would water cooler gossip.

About 8th grade, I started reading fantasy novels. In Fantasy novels, a Baker's apprentice can kill the dragon, save the girl and be crowned king of the world. One person can make a world shaping, positive impact.

The problem with todays media flood, is it made us realize just how insignificant we as individuals really are. What can I do about Isreal? Fiji? Even our own, corrupt government?

Damn little it would seem.

Nobody wants to feel insignificant. Generally speaking, everyone wants to make an impact, wants to be make positive change. Our daily flood of information just makes it obvious there is too much for any single person or group.

The only hope I can see, is to pick a single area you can impact and focus on it. Something you can believe in. Give as you are best equiped.

Unfortunatly, even that is a back-handed solution, because those around you will argue with you the importance of your cause versus thiers. Not one side versus the other, but rather my cause is more important than yours (rainforest vs middle east peace). Then, if you survive that, those within your cause, will question the level of your effort and dedication.

Sounds like fun, eh?

To blow the dust off some mostly forgoten religion, recall the story of the old women giving her last pennies, versus the bags of money from richer members.

It's important to give what you can, when you can, where you can. Planting a tree, saving a dog, walking an old lady across the street. These are all every bit as important as peace in the Middle East.

If you don't see the truth in this, you're the problem. One of the few things I have established as truth in todays world, no matter the appearance, there is no such thing as a "big" problem. Big problems are nothing more than a lot of little problems all rolled together. All big problems are solved, by breaking them down to thier little problems and solving each one, one at a time.

The little things may seem insignificant, but I garuntee you, if we all turned into Boy Scouts and did our one good deed a day, if young Isreali boys where taught the value of helping old Palastinian women across the street, none of this nonesense would be happening now...

[ Parent ]

Yes (none / 0) (#16)
by DeadBaby on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 06:42:18 PM EST

Well, I do. A lot. Thankfully politics isn't the only issue that is covered in the news. I often spend a lot of time on sci-tech/history over politics.

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
No, it is true. (none / 0) (#18)
by Signal 11 on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 07:28:19 PM EST

So your statement can be summed up that YOU personally don't care...

I read almost a dozen news sites each day, my household has a subscription to the pioneer press, a local newspaper, and I have a realaudio feed of CNN up on my desktop throughout the afternoon. I also have a shoutcast server for national news bookmarked in my winamp playlist. I never stated I was apathetic in my post: you assumed that. Would you like some ketchup with those words so you can chew them easier?

I understand what you're saying and it's true, the mass majority of people don't read/watch/listen to the news...

Aight, now that is the statement that would best sum up my post.

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

not sure why (4.00 / 3) (#7)
by Seumas on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 05:13:56 PM EST

I'm not sure why people call a lack of active interest "apathy". Overload and apathy are two different things. Not long ago, the world was not so closely knit and a person could keep up with everything, even if they didn't particularly want to. Now, you have daily newspapers the size of a small pet (though two thirds of it is filled with advertisements). And every other news medium is much the same. Eighty percent entertainment, twenty percent news. And of that percent that is news, most of that is worthless slop rehashed from party-lines or special-interests.

Saying people are apathetic now is like throwing them into a spinning room with a strobe light and dumping in 400 televisions, three hundred simultaneous radio broadcasts and a few thousand newspapers and magazines and calling them names when they don't focus and reap all the 'relavent' information from them.

Everyone has a special interest in this or that and if everyone in the country isn't focusing on their particularly niche, then the world is "apathetic" and "uninformed". Suddenly, instead of focusing on the news of my little city and town, with arms outstretched to a few national pieces that are of importance to us all, we're suddenly a quarter billion people, completely wrapped up in the news of thousands of cities, fifty states and hundreds of causes.

In the long run, things ebb and flow and while some people have a utopian expectation that they can cause change if only they're informed enough and make enough noise and vote (hah!). There are others, like myself, who are busy working so we can afford to live in this expensive world and pay the taxes to support the government that we can't change. It was nice to be idealistic when I was younger, but now I'm in my early 20's and it's pretty obvious that there's no sense in focusing on anything but the small segments of the world for which news actually interests you. I'll spend my time improving myself, enjoying my family and friends and maybe someday settle down. Perhaps I'll have some words of wisdom and something to leave to the rest of society in my lifetime, then I'll croak. But to think that I'm going to lead some revolutionary change (especially against the statistically impossible wall of stupidity that always forms every majority) just because I stay informed and active in politics and media, I'm wasting my energy and time.
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

Am *I* "your generation"? (4.00 / 4) (#19)
by DesiredUsername on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 07:31:42 PM EST

I just turned 28 today (yay me!). Am I part of the same generation as a 21 year old? I would say yes.

I felt the same as you 7 years ago. Network news is totally biased, local news is inane. That was TV. The college I went to delivered Newsweek to every dorm room/on campus apt so I read that every week--also largely inane. The few Time's I've paged through haven't been much better. When I was ~24-26 I rode a vanpool that listened to a (Seattle) news radio station--worst yet! The "news anchor" was a grinning ape with few if any brain cells. Most of the "stories" were in fact commercials or "human interest" with no interest for actual humans.

Then I discovered NPR. Wow! They still have some stupid things, but they ask the right questions. I don't have an example of that, but I have an example of the opposite:

When I was in college, the local news station aired a story about how the police had surrounded a man who had "barricaded himself inside his house". I watched the entire story, some 45 seconds. When it was over, I turned to the other people watching with me and asked "WHY did he barricade himself inside his house?" "Huh?" was the response. I said "the police didn't receive some kind of psychic vibration that he was in there with the doors locked--WHY have they surrounded the house?" It just wasn't covered in the story. Unbelievable--I don't remember what the story contained, but it wasn't anything useful. (Of course, the real CAUSE of this is the uncomprehending stares of my classmates)

Anyway, I've been listening to NPR (All Things Considered and Morning Edition) for about 6 months now--and I finally have a sense that I know a little bit about what's going on in the world. Try it out. You may not agree with what they say, but at least they ARE saying something.

(Totally offtopic: I agree about the bias, even on NPR, on mid-east news. Why isn't Israel getting the same treatment "Yugoslavia" got two years ago? I have no independent source of information, but from reading between the lines, it sounds like Israel is clearly the bad guy here. They moved in and took over in what, 1948? And then did it again in 1968 or so? And the current objection to letting the Palestinians in is that they want a "Zionist government" (i.e. a state run by a religion)? Let me think how to say this....I'm no anti-semiticist (if that's even a word). In fact, it wasn't until I was in my teens that I even knew there WAS such a thing as anti-semitism. Even now I think to myself, like I do about anti-catholicism "I just don't get it. What's the problem?". BUT. The only explanation I can think of for the US siding with Israel is the number of high-placed Jews we have here. WAIT, don't mod me down yet. I don't mean there's a conspiracy or anything or even that Jews are special in any sense (negative or positive). I think the problem is that the news orgs and public officials are afraid of offending a constituency or, worse, appearing to be racist. If we had a similar number of Palestinians in the US, I think the situation would be a LOT different.)

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Bad Guys? (2.33 / 3) (#24)
by CyberQuog on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 09:29:19 PM EST

And the current objection to letting the Palestinians in is that they want a "Zionist government" (i.e. a state run by a religion)?
Palestinians can live in Israel all they want, there are no laws keeping them from living in Israel. The problem is that they REFUSE to live alongside the Jews. Even when offered their own completly seperate homeland TWICE by both England and the UN they refused because they wanted all of Israel.

such a thing as anti-semitism. Even now I think to myself, like I do about anti-catholicism "I just don't get it. What's the problem?"
Gee, I don't know, having swastikas spray painted on your front door, having your temple fire bombed and trashed, getting the crap beat out of you because your not a WASP, having over 6 million people killed...

number of high-placed Jews we have here.
Now your just sounding like a Nazi.

[ Parent ]
Ummmm...re-read that (5.00 / 2) (#34)
by DesiredUsername on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 08:12:57 AM EST

Me: "Even now I think to myself, like I do about anti-catholicism "I just don't get it. What's the problem?"

You: "Gee, I don't know, having swastikas spray painted on your front door, having your temple fire bombed and trashed, getting the crap beat out of you because your not a WASP, having over 6 million people killed..."

Ummm...I meant "what's the problem with being a Jew/Catholic." That is, I don't understand why people are anti-semitic. Not that I am anti-semitic myself and don't understand why it's so bad.

As for your claims about Palestinians: Again, I have no hard data because I've never heard a clear and unbiased news report. But my understanding is that the Palestinians want 1) access to some of the holy sites that have been co-opted by Israel and 2) want Israel to give back some of the area they took in 1948 and 1967. This sounds entirely reasonable to me.

As for calling me a Nazi: This is exactly why getting unbiased reports/commentary on the mid-east is so hard--nobody can say anything against Israel for fear of being discredited as a racist.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
i don't think israel is entirely the bad guy... (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by lemmingEffect on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 09:00:16 PM EST

let me preface this by saying i haven't read too much background material about this, so could be talking out my butt. let me know. =)

As for your claims about Palestinians: Again, I have no hard data because I've never heard a clear and unbiased news report. But my understanding is that the Palestinians want 1) access to some of the holy sites that have been co-opted by Israel

my understanding is that both sides want pretty much all the holy sites under contention and neither are willing to give much ground. so i think the term 'some' might be a bit light.

and 2) want Israel to give back some of the area they took in 1948 and 1967. This sounds entirely reasonable to me.

from what i understand, Israel only took these areas when they were attacked after declaring independence. my feeling is if the invaders (lebanon and egypt in this case) lost land to the ones they were invading, they deserve to lose it and israel deserves to keep it.

of course most of the land under contention was part of the arab state created in 1947 by the UN. israel took most of that land with the excuse that it was for national defense. and they seem more than willing to give up most of that land to a palestinian state as long as it doesn't forfeit their security. i have no problem with that.

of course that may seem to legitimize the former-ussr's iron curtain, but i think the situations are a bit different.

israel seems more than willing to negotiate and make concessions for peace. a good example is their return of the sinai peninsula to egypt and their improved relations now.

palestine, on the other hand, seems to have a leadership willing to deal for peace, but has a bunch of extremist who want nothing short of israel surrendering. of course i overstate, but you get the picture.

it's for these reasons that i don't understand the exact reasoning for the int'l support of palestine and their independence. most of the violence seems to be instigated by them. which of course cause the israelis to retaliate with extreme force.

i guess my point is that if all the palestinians were aching for peace, they would be much more willing to compromise and attain that peace, rather than blow up some more people.

i got some of my background material from here. yeah, cnn. sure they can be a bit bias. but i think at a certain point you have to trust some of the fact or else you better start saving up a plane ticket to go over and ask those people yourself.

*shrug* just my two cents.

"Just do me a favor, ok? Don't breed." -- Adam Carolla, Loveline
[ Parent ]

I agree, somewhat (none / 0) (#44)
by DesiredUsername on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 03:20:48 PM EST

I agree that the Palestinians appear to be instigating most of the violence. But I don't agree that this makes them more culpable than the Israelis.

Consider: Israel is a well-respected (in the English-speaking world anyway) state with good connections and a lot of money. The Palestinians are a dislocated, oppressed and poor people. At worst the Israelis will lose a bit of land and full control over some "holy sites". But the Palestinians stand to lose their identity if not existence. Of COURSE they are being violent about it.

In any case, my point wasn't "Israel is the bad guy" my point was "we never hear any discussion of who the bad guy IS". All we ever hear about is "more violence in the mid-east" with zero opinions being expressed except for "terrorism is bad". Even editorials and pundits focus more on meta-information like the US policy and less on the actual situation.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Which is it? (3.75 / 8) (#2)
by onyxruby on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 04:35:49 PM EST

Is this story supposed to be about the decrease in international news coverage in the media, or an attempt to complain that more Americans don't support the Palestinians? To be perfectly honest I'm not sure what your trying to talk about.

It is one thing to cite your example of the photo, but if your really trying to talk about a lack of international coverage you should give additional examples from other parts of the world. If your trying to complain that more Americans don't support the Palestinian cause you should clearly label your article as such.

As far as what Americans want to see, that is wide open for interpertation. I personally would like to see more international coverage, and would like to see "both sides" style coverage become more popular than it presently is. Unfortunately this is in large part not up to Americans but the corporate giants that own American media outlets.

With companies like AOL owning CNN/Time Warner, their ability to tell Americans what they want Americans to here is potentially dangerous. The FCC used to have much stronger limitations on how much of a market a particular media company could dominate. These regulations have been pushed back to the point where only a very few players control the media market. I would like to see the government fix this, but I doubt that they will do so. If Steve Case of AOL wanted to pick the next president, there is very little anybody could do about it. This consolidation of power is what I find disturbing. There was a time when the media, relatively without corporate ties compared to today, had at least some claim to being unbiased.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

You reap what you sow (3.40 / 5) (#3)
by eLuddite on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 04:41:22 PM EST

Some people think you get the news corporate america fabricates for your benefit. An interesting conspiracy but, unfortunately, one that is not nearly as insidious as the truth: American mainstream media is demand driven. You get the news you enjoy listening to between coke commercials.

If it werent for the cbc and npr, you wouldnt actually have something worthy of being called news.

God hates human rights.

No room for foreign news. (4.18 / 11) (#4)
by Seumas on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 05:02:46 PM EST

Look, if you have foreign news kludging up our newscasts, how will CBS be able to have special reports on their news broadcasts each week about what's happening on Survivor, dedicate whole segments to the newest movie release, update you on what Nicole Kidman is doing, tell you who's leaving X-Files or give you the other generally life-imperitive hollywood centric information that life depends on?

The point is, anyone who pays attention to the main news agencies realizes that news is not the commodity -- entertainment is. Even in reporting the news, it's all about entertainment.
I just read K5 for the articles.

Village Voice?!?! (3.33 / 6) (#10)
by DoorFrame on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 05:26:45 PM EST


Did the author of this piece just use the Village Voice as a source to prove that OTHER media sources are biased? If you're looking for an unbiased source, I don't think the traditionally hippie Village Voice is going to help you out.

Nope (2.66 / 3) (#11)
by titus-g on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 05:50:49 PM EST

He also used the Christian Science Monitor and the Jewish bulletin of Northern California as sources.


Just the fact Ma'am

--"Essentially madness is like charity, it begins at home" --
[ Parent ]

"just" (none / 0) (#37)
by antizeus on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 01:12:14 PM EST

This never occurred to me until now, but the word "just" has more than one use in English:
  • Very recently;
  • Only.
I think the original poster was using the "very recently" version. Your reply seems to indicate that you interpreted it as the "only" version.

Very interesting.
[ Parent ]

ooops (none / 0) (#46)
by titus-g on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 06:44:20 PM EST

yeah, funny thing is I reread it twice again just now and didn't see it till the second time, think I need to sleep more and post less :)

--"Essentially madness is like charity, it begins at home" --
[ Parent ]

Media bias != bad. (3.71 / 7) (#12)
by tiamat on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 06:01:51 PM EST

[It certainly can be mind you.]
[And here's a question I don't want to touch, why do people assume biasis is bad?]

<1> Every media outlet has to make decisions about what is newsworthy that day.

For example, no one would complain if a paper ran a story about a double-murder that happened locally before a story about a bombing that happened somewhere far away. That's the nature of human compassion. We care more about people who are like us, people we can understand, and people who share our situtation, (those who live nears us, etc.). [Evidense for this is simple: few people could aviod crying if a local school was destroyed. Few people ever cry when they hear about a distant school being destroyed, even if they do care. This is a general statement of course, but I believe it serves to make the point.]

<2> So perhaps the real question isn't that American (and western in general media) is biased. Perhaps we should instead say that we believe the current events in the middle east have ability to effect our lives in the western world, and therefore should not be ignored by our major media; that their mistake is in thinking that it can't effect us here, not in thinking we don't care. They are right that we don't care, but wrong to think that we shouldn't.

Conclusion: That the media (in a better world) should be the ones to alert we the apathetic to local and international situtations that could effect us. And that western mainstream media is failing at this task right now, at least in this case.

The Effect of Modern Media Is Unprecedented (4.00 / 3) (#13)
by LaNMaN2000 on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 06:11:40 PM EST

Statistics show that people's purchasing decisions can be drastically influenced by ads that last as little as 30 seconds. Therefore, it is not surprising that Americans who trust a single source to provide them the news every day will be influenced by the bias displayed by that source.

The only way to combat this media "brainwashing" is to spawn a new generation of "meta-news" providers that aggregate stories from many different sources, both national and International. Unfortunately, copyright issues would make it very difficult for such an organization to succeed, as licensing content would prove expensive and put them at the mercy of the content providers in licensing disputes.


Lenny Grover -- link-spamming to make Google give me my name back!
Meta-News (none / 0) (#17)
by inpHilltr8r on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 07:13:56 PM EST

"a new generation of "meta-news" providers that aggregate stories from many different sources"

You mean, something like sla^H^H^H 'the other site', but for 'real' news? Does copyright affect the hyperlinks and summaries you'd need for this sort of service?

I certainly don't think you could do this with tv/radio news though. Too many overheads, and too much competition for the bandwith. In fact, I think you pretty much have to give up on tv news at this point, certainly in the US, if you're interested in events outside your back yard.

[ Parent ]
Not quite... (none / 0) (#21)
by LaNMaN2000 on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 07:47:50 PM EST

It does not need to be user supplied content like /. and Kuro5hin. A meta-news provider like Echofactor or Moreover, where you can search many sources for articles about a single topic, is more what I had in mind. The problem with converting this model to TV/Radio is licensing and distributing the content in a cost-effective and timely manner.


Lenny Grover -- link-spamming to make Google give me my name back!
[ Parent ]
Some news is getting really stale (4.60 / 5) (#15)
by fossilcode on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 06:35:46 PM EST

I commented on this the other day in #k5 that NPR was really starting to bug me because for some reason they seemed to think that news from Israel was more important than news from, oh say, Iowa. My point was that I was starting to feel deprived of meaningful information because the media seem consumed with the mid-east conflict to the exclusion of a lot of other stuff, such as last year's coup in Fiji, which it took NPR almost a week to discover.

I was not in the U.S. in 1989 when the Berlin wall fell. While overseas, I discovered a much more balanced reporting of international news, as I got for the first time to see the political problems in Russia as less a question of oppression, and more like the day-to-day political wrangling that goes on in places like the U.S. or Australia, or Great Britain. It was a very refreshing revelation. I don't care if you regard the media as liberal or conservative, they do have bias, and it's often hard to tell if their bias comes from the political leanings of their management, pressure from their sponsors and investors, or a misguided idea of what the people really care to know about.

"...half the world blows and half the world sucks." Uh, which half were you again?
Are we engrossed in peace? (4.50 / 4) (#20)
by anewc2 on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 07:33:54 PM EST

Remember a big chunk of news in the 60s was devoted to the Vietnam War -- probably foreign news, but with local relevance to a lot of people in the US.

That's what we need, a good war to get people interested in the world again! We know the team we've got now can do it -- they helped to make Arnett's reputation in the Gulf -- only this time a little longer, please. Gotta boost them ratings.

The world's biggest fool can say the sun is shining, but that doesn't make it dark out. -- Robert Pirsig
Palestinians want peace? (4.22 / 9) (#22)
by /dev/trash on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 08:34:04 PM EST

Sure they may be using rocks and the such but I doubt they truly want peace.

The Israelis don't either.

A truly peaceful group doesn't continue to fight when talking about peace. As it stands now neither side wants peace.

Updated 02/20/2004
New Site

About peace in Israel (3.00 / 3) (#43)
by lonesmurf on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 11:52:31 AM EST

I live in Israel and I have immigrated here under the 'Law of Return' from America.

One of the main reasons that the Palestinians don't use guns is that they don't have them. Here in Israel, it is difficult for civilians to get guns legally and almost impossible for Arabs to get them (I would say utterly and completely impossible, but I don't feel like looking it up right now).

It is true that many Israeli's do not want peace any more than palestinians. I guess with all of the animosity that has been between these nations in the last 50 years, this is understandable. A great portion of the problem is centered around Jerusalem. Everybody wants it and we have it. One proposed solution (one that I find exceedingly fair) is that Jerusalem become a soveriegn city that has no direct ties to any country. It is no longer Jewish or Arab or anything. Kind of like with children and a favorite toy: you can't play nice so nobody gets it.

I have to strongly disagree with your last quip about "A truly peaceful group doesn't continue to fight when talking about peace. As it stands now neither side wants peace." The fact is that when an entire ethnic nation is rioting within your country and bombing your people, you can not just let them do what they will while you try to make some sort of agreement with them. The Palestinians feel that this is their land and they will not stop until it is theirs. We are here now. We have built a country and do not wish to see it destroyed or taken over, so we defend it. It is that simple.


I am not a jolly man. Remove the mirth from my email to send.

[ Parent ]
Palastinian media problem... (2.00 / 6) (#23)
by CyberQuog on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 09:08:01 PM EST

Durring the mid to late 80's and early 90's, Yassir Arafat made a huge push to controll U.S. media. Remember the story about the lynching of two israeli soldiers, where a palestinian put his hands inside the body of two israeli soldiers? The italian reporters which caught that on tape were then fired from their jobs because the video was released without Arafat's "permission". Those reporters should have won an award for that, they put their lives on the line to show the truth.

Another thing to think about are things like parents companies. CNN just happens to be backed by a huge oil company, guess where that oil comes from...the palestinians.

A link from the Toronto Star

hmmm (none / 0) (#29)
by Kellnerin on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 11:19:37 PM EST

Another thing to think about are things like parents companies. CNN just happens to be backed by a huge oil company, guess where that oil comes from...the palestinians.

The media is undeniably biased and the conglomerates play a large role in this (Bill Moyers did a special on PBS about this I believe), but I'm a bit confused by this particular assertion ... CNN is owned by AOL/Time Warner -- no spotless reputation there, but the last time I checked they were not an oil interest.

As for where the oil comes from, despite being an Arab people the Palestinians don't control much of it. Since Palestine was dissolved they don't have their own country, and thus no land that might contain oil. If they were a bunch of rich oil barons who were wielding considerable power in the Middle East and the international arena, rather than being a dispossessed people whose homeland was divvied up among their neighbors by some meddling imperial power, they would have a lot less to complain about.
Somebody go tell Kellnerin it's time for her to change her sig. -johnny
[ Parent ]

my two cents (1.00 / 2) (#25)
by maketo on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 09:40:07 PM EST

This is my opinion not supported by facts but only a hunch. I think you are likely to find more support for palestinians among poorer countries. If you accept the premise ask yourself why...
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
Are you USAian? (none / 0) (#31)
by meadows_p on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 04:52:43 AM EST

If you are, then your comment is almost a perfect example of what the stories about. According to yourself, your opinion is not supported by facts, just a hunch. And I have to say that I find it fairly arrogant of you saying that poor countries are more likely to support the Palestinians. What is Iraq doing that's any different to Isreal, why does one deserve bombing and the other deserves support?

[ Parent ]
I am not USaian (none / 0) (#32)
by maketo on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 07:21:12 AM EST

and my hunch is based on the fact that the poor have less to lose and thus are more likely to fight for one cause or the other therefor being more sympathetic to the palestinian cause. Plus, poor (countries) usualy hate the rich (countries) and poor might have a problem with several aspects of the Israeli state. A poor country is more likely to have been someone's colony, point of exploitation or simply is more likely to have felt the imperialist or more freshly the manipulative helping hand of a richer, bigger and stronger brother, thus knowing how it feels to be opressed like Palestinians are. Therefor my hunch that the poor might be more sympathetic to the palestinian cause. I do not trust media to see what happens, I did go to school and I did take classes and there are books around. Besides, this conflict is older than the media covering it.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
[ Parent ]
That's simply false (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by boxed on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 08:07:18 AM EST

When more or less the entire industrialized world thought the palistinians were just weed taking up the holy land, Sweden fought for their rights, and at that time Sweden was among the richest countries in the world. Wealth != Evil, remember that.

Note also that Sweden has been branded as anti-semetic quite a few times because we don't like how palistinians are being slaughtered. Teenagers throwing stones vs advanced american attack helicopters armed with missiles: fair fight?

[ Parent ]

That makes me think (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by maketo on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 09:50:25 AM EST

I said "poor are more likely, in my opinion". This does not say that "rich are not at all likely". Just less. There are wealthy people everywhere sympathetic, for example, to wildlife conservation. But the markets for wildlife products such as fur, ivory, rhino horns (used as dagger handles in North Yemen e.g.) are usually ones of wealthy countries. You mention the american advanced attack helicopters vs. stones. My point exactly. Were there wealthy and powerful backers to the Palestinian cause, there would not be stones in Palestinian hands. You also say that Sweden has been marked as anti-semitic many times because of being sympathetic to Palestine. To me it tells a lot of the way things work around the world and who really runs the affairs.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
[ Parent ]
Then again... (4.66 / 3) (#26)
by regeya on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 10:25:57 PM EST

I've met people in my home state (Illinois) who know who the prime minister of Israel is, but don't know where the Mississippi River is. No joke. (and yes, for those of you who don't know, the border between Missouri and Illinois is, well, the Mississippi River, to be simplistic about it. :-)

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

www.fair.org (4.42 / 7) (#27)
by joeyo on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 10:47:17 PM EST

I find fair.org to be invaluable if you want to get the whole story. It's a little troubling when you see just how much corporate ownership, advertiser influence, official agendas play into the US 'free press'.

From the site:

FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints. As an anti-censorship organization, we expose important news stories that are neglected and defend working journalists when they are muzzled.

Heh, dont get me started-- I just watched the first episode of The Lone Gunmen tonight. :)

"Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi

American news? Contradiction in terms. (4.12 / 8) (#28)
by cezarg on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 10:48:59 PM EST

Having lived in four different countries over the last seven years I can assure you that it is as bad as you think. Perhaps even worse. The "news" is very selective, biased and the commentary is so uninformed and sensationalist it's embarrassing. It's not really news it's more like gossip. It's very selective also. Certain news that are uncomortable for the mainstream politics don't make it to the news coverage at all. The prime example being the ongoing war in Chechnya. Since the US is trying to appease Kremlin no news on Chechnya is allowed to slip through.

In contrast the best news coverage I've seen to date has to be channel 4 news in Britain. BBC is good but they are extremely biased. Their only purpose is to spindoctor whatever stupid decisions are made at 10 Downing street. Still it's far better than anything US media broadcasts. This actually touches on a broader issue of the general quality of US television. This is material for a rant in its own right but let me just say that I'd trade my 60+ US/Canadian channels for the five I used to get in the UK. I used to think that the TV license was a ripoff, now I'd gladly pay Auntie ten times as much... And no I'm not British.

Palestinians' desire for peace. (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by i on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 03:41:45 AM EST

Right here. (The original at Bir Zeit is currently down for me.)

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

From Abroad (4.83 / 6) (#36)
by grosgoret on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 10:09:32 AM EST

At first, I must stipulate that I'm no anti-american. I'm french and I would like to be independent of thought. People all around me view americans as having a poor culture, personal or otherwise. Alas, the lack of culture on other countries and ways of life has been shown too frequently in US publications or during visits in the US of friends of ours. We also think that US is a country very weird : "Land of Freedom" but you have to say your sexual inclinations or religion when you want to vist, "First Military Power" but everybody seems to start running screaming when a soldier is lost in a conflicting country, as if a war should not kill american people but only strangers. A very weird country, indeed. That said, I'm not pretending we're better or anything, but your point of view seems to be dictated by marketing and commercials. Please tell that's not true (in fact, I'm quite sure that any american who take the time to dwell here is not as amorphous as we could believe) Please excuse the language, I'm just a french Gros GorÍt

Media Bias and Selective Reporting (4.50 / 2) (#39)
by DJBongHit on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 06:47:52 PM EST

You have to take it upon yourself to educate yourself - the American media won't do it for you. Go read or listen to the BBC news, don't watch Fox's nightly news. At the very least, watch CNN.

That said, all media sources are biased; there's no way around that. News sources must choose what news to report and what not to report, and their political biases inevitably come into play. But most American news sources care more about ratings than about journalistic integrity and reporting news, so they report what people want to hear. Sadly, in this country people tend not to care about the political situation abroad and instead care about Fox 5's sting operation in rave clubs in DC, a cute cat that some firefighters in Montgomery county got out of a tree, or behind-the-scenes scandals on "Temptation Island." (yes, those are all real stories I've seen advertised as "Tonight, on Fox 5 News at 10!").

Educate yourself - the media which is aimed at "educating" the average American citizen, who just cares about being able to live his or her day-to-day life with minimum fuss, isn't going to do it for you.


GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

A serious question.. (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by quantum pixie on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 05:22:11 AM EST

Why should an individual devote time and effort to keeping abreast of international news?

Free qpt!
A simple answer... (4.33 / 3) (#42)
by Pedro Picasso on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 08:48:40 AM EST

In democratic nations, individuals contribute to governments and governments dictate international affairs. Small dedicated groups of individuals often make a great difference in democratic policy.

If you aren't interested to start/join these dedicated groups, you can support them at the very least by staying abreast of the news. This way, when someone gets up on a soapbox and says "We need to help people!" you can turn to people and say, "I know what he's talking about," and not something like, "I've never heard of this. The guy's a nut."

The fact that Israel has been transgressing war crime laws put in place after World War II to protect their people specifically may not mean much to an American like me, hundreds of miles away. But when you couple that with the fact that they are shooting people with guns that my tax money supplied and lobbing tear gas stamped "Made in Kansas" at innocent citizens, I begin to wonder if I should be doing something.

Israel is the most supported nation in our international funds, surpassing its runner-up by quite a ways. They are the only power in their area proven to be holding weapons of mass destruction. (The US not only armed them, but gave them the technology and resources to produce more.) They have been known to sell US military secrets--like air to air radar--to China. They deny Palestinians the rights to build houses with money they've earned, on last that they've bought, in zones approved for that sort of thing, and when the Palestinians do build houses there (because they can no longer afford to keep their families in appartments), the Israilies teargas the inhabitants and bulldoze the homes.
-the Pedro Picasso

Cult of the Flaky Hardware
[ (sourceCode == freeSpeech) | kakkune.com ]
[ Parent ]

You cannot be serious... (none / 0) (#47)
by Mr Tom on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 12:59:11 PM EST

> Why should an individual devote time and effort
> to keeping abreast of international news?

Because every individual lives on the world. (with notable mention made to those in orbit)

It's that simple. The world is a small place.

Unless, of course, your mind is paticularily small. In which case, I wouldn't bother leaving your house. Eastenders is probably on, no cause for alarm.

-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.
[ Parent ]

Heck, why bother with intl news? (2.00 / 3) (#45)
by pustulate on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 05:03:28 PM EST

The United States reflects and shapes the world through a lens of ignorance; that's why the US is able to do so much of what it does.

As an example, the major powers of Europe have been peaceful now for what...55 years or so. That's an unprecedented amount of time for France, Germany, Britain, and what's left of the other empires to stay out of conflicts.

US ignorance of foreign cultural issues drove the formation of NATO and the UN; who in their right minds would think, after thousands of years of animosity, that the French and British would work together? What kind of naivite would believe that Germany would actually stay peaceful? You know those Germans.

Instead of "those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it", we should say instead that "those who know the past are chained by it." The future is not yesterday, and the future is what America is about.

hopefully cynically (none / 0) (#48)
by krissyboy on Fri Mar 16, 2001 at 03:35:59 AM EST

"you know those Germans"
I really hope you were being cynically here, cause man that is like stating stuff such as "every black man steals" "every jew is whatever" you get my point. You cannot get away with statements like this in modern society... thank god. I thaugt we were past this...
By the way you really must suck in history, cause Dolfie (mr A. Hitler) was not German, but he came from Austria. And never a majority of the Germans supported him.
I'm not German at all if you're wondering. I'm from belgium (yeah I know every belgian is a pedophile I confess)
And oh does the name KKK ring any bell?


[ Parent ]
Are we engrossed in fantasy? | 48 comments (46 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!