View Full Version : Perceptions Matter

08-30-2008, 06:46 PM

On visits to the USA since 1980 I have often despaired at the US mainstream TV media; I have rarely listened to the radio and only read a few newspapers for short periods. Sensational, yes, trivial even more so. For the last fifteen years I have visited more "Middle America" and there the news horizon is very limited even to jsut within the state.

A whole host of global events sometimes seem to pass by un-reported, the exception being 9/11.

Others who have visited places like Florida and New York city have remarked on the shallow nature of US TV.

Yes this focus / trivial approach has exceptions, PBS for example and WBGH-Boston is one station I recall. Is it market-driven (advertising plus) or media-driven I know not, let alone other explanations.

I suspect this perception is shared by other visitors and undermines the USA's global role. Let alone the domestic impact on wanting to "shut the world out".


Ken White
08-30-2008, 07:09 PM
several nations. I still swap e-mails with some old acquaintances in the Far and Middle East and in Canada; none in Europe though a reading of newspapers from there on the internet would seem to also support your position and mine that, broadly, US media does us no favors in other nations.

It has been said that our media coverage of Afghanistan and Iraq is inadequate and biased, whether that's true or not, it is noteworthy that the overall effort by the media is lacking in many respects -- and too many of its practitioners seem to get defensive about themselves and this lack or skewing of content rather than trying to fix the problem. A problem that I am far from alone in citing and that you are one of many who have noticed. My Son was recently in the UK and it was mentioned to him in conversation that US "...TV wrongly makes you look like proper clowns to those who don't know better..." (or words to that effect).

08-30-2008, 09:21 PM
David - heck I live here and agree. Haven't watched TV in years. With the Internet I can read the world, national, opinion and - for those who carry this section - national security / defense - sections of newspapers and magazines from around the world each morning.

What you observe is the nature of the beast - market driven - so you can blame the customer - general US public - for having little to no interest in the issues that define our world unless it directly affects them in a near-term manner.

08-30-2008, 10:11 PM
For the last fifteen years I have visited more "Middle America" and there the news horizon is very limited....

it's a matter of choice. One of my three cable news channels is usually going - often as background noise to this keyboard. And, I even have one hour of BBC news if I want - which I often do.

Like most others here (this board), I inhabit the Net. No superiority in all of that. At times, I think the hermit in the woods who thinks Reagan is still president may have more going for him.

Rex Brynen
08-31-2008, 05:27 AM
it's a matter of choice.

I think this is the point I was making. Certainly the current affairs programming of most of the US TV networks is limited in depth, scope, and quantity. Local stations, and many local newspapers and radio stations, are useless when it comes to international news.

Then again, its possible to fill your day with the best of CNN and PBS, the WaPo and NYT (by any measure, two of the best newspapers in the world, I think), a host of new media/online sources, and so forth.

08-31-2008, 06:57 AM
attention moderators, feel free to use this a new thread start pointSorry folks, but the "leftist leanings" of the news is not the culprit of our media's increasing irelelavence. Majority of the major news outlets are owned by Rupert Murdoch and preach his rather right leaning views. Even as a soldier in Iraq in '03 I could only stomach so much of Fox news fan boy enthusiasm of the troops. I don't mind some good press but but listening to how I was a "god-fearing liberator of the opressed..that could shoot LASER BEAMS..FROM MY EYES!" got old and failed to cover the important stories, like how that original $87bil aid package for Iraq failed to leave Kuwait. A little outrage at that time may have saved us some blood and sweat later. Also, even the wonderous "right wing pundits" were talking about looters shooting at soldiers and rescue helicopters in New Orleans after Katrina and how soldiers were shooting looters to restore order. Great copy, but unfortunetly false - period. NO copters were fired upon, most of the shooting was residents trapped in houses trying to get help. The active duty army refused to carry any rounds and the NG had a very strict ROE that allowed us to shoot to save lives in immediate danger only. There was pointless looting and many police officers did AWOL at some point, but I know at the Baywater Hospital that I helped to restore, they (and the Louisiana NG) had stayed and siphoned there own vehicles gas tanks in a desperate bid to keep the generators running. Many many NOPD officers were heroes and profesionals too. Did this get reported, no. What the news lacks is not a proper left or right ideology but a complete failure to fact check before releasing information. Just the facts mam, just the facts.

Ken White
08-31-2008, 02:18 PM
What was said was exactly what you said -- they're not terribly competent. So I'm not sure I see much point in your comment.

FYI, the active duty Army and the USAR do not carry any rounds on such missions due to the Posse Comitatus act. They're constrained by it, the ArNG is not as long as they are not Federalized.

I suggest that if you start a comment with knowledge you're straying from the thread, you should perhaps consider starting a new thread on your own. ;)