As a young woman living in Paris, I dreamed of becoming a journalist. Travel and interviewing people from around the world sounded exciting and meaningful. I hoped to be one of the faces on NBC, CBS or ABC, in the U.S., with visions of sharing news from around the world: stories about different cultures, ways of thinking, and making people feel they belonged to a planet that shrank to the size of a marble, the more we learned about one another.
Today I realize how miserable I would be to step in the shoes of Katie Couric or Diane Sawyer. Don’t get me wrong, I respect those two ladies, however, what we see on prime time television, is in my opinion, not news. Yes, I know, we get coverage on Iran, Iraq, Israel and Afghanistan, but when you compare U.S. news to BBC news, or other European channels, we get such a limited perspective on what happens outside the U.S. We learn more about blood pressure medicine, arthritis, viagra, acid reflux, loss of bone density and all the drugs we can take during ten minutes of commercials which interrupt the news, making it seem even more banal. Whenever we hear about other countries, it never seems to give us a positive view on what’s happening there, but rather a positive view on what the U.S. is doing for others.
I realize how ignorant I am about what’s going on around the world, including the country I live in when I visit my family and friends in France, Britain and Denmark. They quiz me on U.S. politics and I never really know what’s happening. I’d have to spend hours reading and doing my own research on various issues to feel informed enough to vote on a proposition, yet many voters base their decisions on thirty second ads they see or hear. That’s the wrong way to vote.
When I travel to Europe, I finally understand what’s going on in the U.S. Is that because I understand French better than English? I don’t think so. Often I see debates and interviews that never appear on U.S. television. When I return to the U.S., I have a fresh view of what’s happening in the world, in the U.S. and even in California. Why is that?
So how did this blog post start? From my European blogger friend, Phivos Nicolaides who sent me a YouTube video of a singer from Portugal. I’d never heard of this singer, and when I told him that, he made a comment which I agreed with:
To tell you the truth, in States they know very little about the other world…
When you are on the top of the world, you think there is nothing else to see, listen and learn…
This happens to every country when she becomes powerful. In the end of course things change one day dramatically…
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.