Friday, March 19, 2010

Viewing the Worls with blinders on . . .

      Most Americans have little or no awareness of what is going on in the rest of the world.  Nightly News on the major networks ignores all but a scant few stories, and in covering those, focuses only on the impact to Americans. It is as if America is reality and the rest of the world is simply background noise.  The nightly BBC News is far more dilligent in reporting World News, but there too, many important developments are often ignored.

     How is it possible to effectively function in the world if we are completely ignorant of it?  This is a question that we all need to ask ourselves. Unless we demand actual News instead of the nightly Infotainment now being passed off as News, we are doomed to slip further and further away from understanding the world we live in.   The Internet gives us a wider access to information, but not necessarily in English.  Because Americans for the most part, are monlingual, if it isn't in English, we can't and don't read it, further isolating ourselves from the rest of the world.

     Popular Internet News Aggregators like the Huffington Post do a good job on U.S. political News, but are woefully inadequate in their coverage of World News, in fact thir entire World News section fall far short by any realistic standard of journalism.  Entire continents are summarily ignored, with only an occassional cursory reference framed in how it impacts American interests.

      It is no wonder that American students are so woefully ignorant of basic geography and even the names of other nations.  Sure we occassionally rally round disaster in places like Haiti or Chili, but we soon loose interest as the reality of the situations begin to sink in and the headlines stop, leaving scant if any coverage at all after a week or two. How does America expect to function in a World that it does not even acknowledge?.

      Basic World literacy must be aquired if we expect to prosper as a nation in the 21st cenbtury and beyond. Our current Information blackout of the rest of the World does not serve us well, and will become an increasing liability over the next several decades if we do not wake up and get connected.  The entire World is in flux and changing rapidly, just as the U.S. is changing. 

      Europe is galvanizing it's strength as the EU comes into its own. China and India are growing rapidly as their populations shift from rural farming to urban wage based populations. Capitalism and entepreneurship are spreading around the world, and the U.S. is still asleep at the switch. Africa is being ravaged by AIDS, Malaria and other diseases, as well as grinding poverty and corrupt governments. China is moving to take advantage of these conditions and is rapidly expanding their interests in both Africa and Latin America.  Did you hear about any of this on the Nightly World News?  I doubt it.

        The time has come for us to demand actual News from the News. I urge you to write, call, e-mail and blog about the need for Real News, because if we do not, the consequences of our inattention will be a  disater. We will have no one to blame but ourselves, because, this iis a disaster we could have easily avoided, but we were too complacent or lazy to address the problem.

       The irony of this situation is that if the average U.S. citizen became more aware of the rest of the World and paid attention to what is going on the World, things would improve for America. We would be far more popular in the World, and far better prepeared to roll with and benefit form the many changes that will inevitably come as the World remakes itself in the 21st century..