Our failure to cover international events

DKS Editors

I am one of those people who watches the news instead of another episode of “The Office.” As soon as I get back to my room from classes, I turn on either CNN or Fox News to stay updated. But when I read “The Wall Street Journal” the next morning, I feel like I do not know much of what’s going on in the world. I often ask myself, “But I watched the news yesterday, how come I do not know about this issue? I think I have heard something, but the journalists made it sound as though it was a ‘by the way.'”

The more time I spend watching American news channels, the more disappointed I get in its quality. I must admit, however, that journalists do a really good job on covering domestic issues. Whether a person is liberal or conservative, it is always possible to find a channel that fits his or her expectations.

I think last week’s news coverage made me write this column. There were about five major news stories covered in total: the health care plan, money and Wall Street, the Annie Le murder, President Carter and his statement about racism and an incident that Rep. Joe Wilson provoked. Please, do not misunderstand me. I am not trying to say that these issues are not important – it’s just that the world is so much bigger.

And people wonder why most high school students can’t name the longest river or the tallest mountain in the world. And people wonder why some Americans can’t point to Germany on a map of the world. Our televised media is too focused on America. It is not that I am blaming everything on TV news channels, but I think that individuals who are in this business are taking huge advantage of our laziness to advocate whatever is of their interest. Someone once said, “Laziness drives all progress,” but I will have to disagree with that on this issue. People being too lazy to read a newspaper in the morning is leading them to a very closed-minded world.

CNN covers “news” 24/7. Their reporters mention or discuss the same story 12 times a day on average. Sometimes a video, such as Michelle Obama speaking to American women about health care last week, gets replayed every 20 minutes within many hours. But an interview with Russian President Medvedev who was asked, “If Israel and Iran will go into a military conflict, who will Russia support?” was shown once. I mean, how would you suppose an average American to be “worldly” if something that is worldly is not considered worldly enough by national media?

Our newspapers are barely surviving this crisis, but we fail to realize that they are the ones that provide us with global information. Most nationally known newspapers manage to put out at least 20 pages of news every day without repetition. The failure of newspapers is not a failure of imagination or foresight; it is a failure of individuals to realize what a newspaper does to broaden our knowledge.

Anastasia Spytsya is a senior Russian translation major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]