An Alien in America

An alien's perspective on life and everything else

Archive for December, 2005

American News

Posted by nickxyz on December 18, 2005

I think the lightbulb finally came on today! I was marvellilng for the last several years at the public channels daily news broadcast and was trying really hard to see the benefit of spending my already scarce free time with them every night.

I admit, I am spoiled by German newscasts. It is a family tradition to gather around the TV at 8 pm sharp to watch the daily news broadcast on ARD (the first public channel and it is still in existence, too). In 15 min, a skillful assembly of relevant national and international news is provided to the interested viewer. The show does make an attempt at unbiased broadcasting of the most important developments that took place during the day. G7 summits, EU conventions, American War on Terror (legitimacy of that topic will be discussed some other time), affairs throughout the world ranging from Africa to New Zealand. To summarize: information that allows the average viewer to be exposed to national and world events allowing him to become a well informed citizen in the global village able to formulate an educated opinion. Note: I am stressing the possiblity, not necessarily the default!

I have been living in the US for almost a decade now, residing both on the East coast and the West coast in the process. Everywhere I tried to stay abreast of the developments in this world. Well, for the greater part of the decade, I didn’t have cable (student life and all its amenities) or Internet access from home (there still are people like that, indeed). That situation makes unbiased information flow somewhat challenging. Being stuck with the major networks, I ‘enjoyed’ daily news shows starting at 4 pm until 10 pm, regurgitating the same piece of information, including playback loop of associated video, over and over and over again. In the beginning, I was looking forward to the announcement of a major story just about to break. Unfortunately, it turned out to be just a report on the local school’s alleged plagiarism incident or the holding up of a local tanning studio. My personal favorites are the stories that are reported live from the scene when the actual deed had already happened 5 hours ago. I am still trying to figure out what that live from the scene adds to the importance of the story??

Another newsworth section within the show is the 60 sec look around the world. Well, my expectation would be a summary of the OPEC congregation in the middle east, peace talks in Israel or developments in North Korea. Turns out, I am completely wrong!! The sixty seconds are comprised of Xmas cards being sent from the White House, Dick Cheney’s unannounced visit to Iraq, a quick announcement of a parade going down a boulevard in France (no information on the purpose of the parade, the occasion or any other basic information relevant) and I am not exaggerating with this one: the recent major discovery (I guess, by the US Media) that China as a developing country will be needing a lot of raw materials such as steel and ore in the next few years to support the economic growth!

Impressive journalism!! And it is reported in such an unbiased manner! NOT. I am particular impressed by the personal opinion the news casters tend to have a habit of adding. Completely unqualified and only supporting the overarching ambulance chasing style of news reporting. One could almost think that Kansas City is a highly crime ridden city…. compared to Liberal, KS.

Going back to the lightbulb. I think I can save myself the headaches of annoying, irrelevant and completely useless hot air every day by realizing that all they really are aspiring to be, is the TV format of The National Enquirer. And switching to BBC News!

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