Wednesday, July 23, 2008

#426 Trade Imbalance

#426 Trade Imbalance

Pew Research says we're seeing less and less news from overseas. Less time on TV, less space in the papers. So, howcome when everything else is imported, this stuff stops. You think we have a trade imbalance with China and Japan? Nothing to match this one. All our news is domestic. And most of it takes place right around home.

Not totally a bad thing. But lacking.

It's great to know the firefighter next door rescued a kitten from a drainpipe. It's wonderful to read the minutes of the local county legislature or board of alderpersons, or whatever they call it where you live.

It's even good to know that neighbors think there ought to be a traffic light on your corner.

But even though stuff like this has a place in the paper and on TV, there needs to be more and we're not getting it.

There are just so many "we value your opinion" surveys about the price of gasoline. There are just so many pictures of blackened-buildings-still-smoldering on TV. After that, we need a little perspective.

Tip O'Neill said "all politics is local." Most editors will tell you the same about news. They're all wrong.

In a globalized world, we need a globalized viewpoint, a perspective that extends beyond the kitten in the tree, the aftermath of a house fire and even the graft in the state capital.

The only time we get "foreign" news is when China sends us a lead-infused Barbie or Mexico (or was it the Republic of Texas) sends us a diseased jalapeno, or we send a presidential candidate to a war zone.

The kitten in the tree is the same story whether it takes place in East Hills, New York or Warsaw, Poland. We need to know that, because the kid in East Hills is essentially the same kid as in Warsaw. We need to know THAT.

Today, we have instant satellite communication with nearly everywhere on earth. And everyone has a video camera. And what are we doing with this technology? Nothing. We've dug a hole and we're living in it. And that's dangerous. Until we figure out that the guy in the cave in Afghanistan and the guy in the trailer in East Nowhere and the guy in the co-op on Madison Avenue are the same guy, we are going to stay stuck in that hole.

And the view stinks.


--How they get to be "fair and balanced." Do a news item about a liberal or middle of the road position, and follow it with the conservative angle. People remember the punch line, not the lead.

--No fine for Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction." That's good news for CBS. Now they can REALLY do something to boost the ratings of the "Evening News."

--Alternative fuels may eventually take their place in the transportation field. That's not what we need now. What we need now is wind-up cars.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.(R)
(C)WJR 2008

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