Uneven reporting

Many express their opinions online on how reporting is not objective among journalistic sources, e.g. FOX. However, for me, the real problem is not how this or that TV channel did not report on some bad things that the US government did, or it tried to half-report another bad thing that some soldiers did etc. It goes beyond that. It goes back to how bad pure reporting is, and how uneven it is on fundamental issues.

For example, for 2 days now the main story on the *international* version of CNN is the bridge that collapsed in the Mississippi River. Five people died there. I am sad about this. But my question is this: Why didn’t this story ever became No1? Or this one? Or this one, which barely made it to the top-10? If you try to completely objectively evaluate all these stories, or pick your top story based on the head-count of the various accidents around the world, the bridge collapse might not even make the front page!

I don’t mind the US version of CNN to have the bridge collapse as their top story, in fact it makes sense to do so. But for the International version, I expect a more even reporting. Just because the casualties are from third world countries where people are dying every day, does not make it “less bad” and therefore “less shocking” and therefore “less interesting”. Just like with art, it all depends how you present your work to make them sound interesting to your audience. From the moment you have achieved that, no one will say “ah, that happened in Kongo, who cares?”.

You could argue that even the International version of CNN is mostly read by “first world” citizens rather than third world ones, but then, don’t call it “International”. And besides, I am from Greece, which is not exactly very modern compared to UK or USA. And yet, CNN International is where I get my news from. And I am sure that a lot of people from Kongo who live abroad get their news that way too.

7 Comments »

Phil wrote on August 3rd, 2007 at 10:32 AM PST:

The BBC do a better job on world news (with separate sections for Africa, Americas, Asia-Pacific, etc.) IMHO. But generally people are just more interested in their local news, especially if it’s particularly bad, than tragedies elsewhere around the world. Naturally sometimes this colours their international view for better or worse.


jayson knight wrote on August 4th, 2007 at 5:44 AM PST:

Phil beat me to it…all hail the BBC (FWIW I’m American). Much more unbiased IMO.


Andrew wrote on August 4th, 2007 at 8:22 AM PST:

The fact that everyone on the extreme ends of the political spectrum hate the BBC attests to its objectivity.


memson wrote on August 5th, 2007 at 1:26 AM PST:

BBC News 24 reports all of this stuff.

Even the free news papers that I read on the commute home on the train (Metro, London Lite, The London Paper), which are totally biased to the views of Londoners, report this stuff too.

The problem is the US media I think. I can’t stand watching UK news or even US documentaries because they always talk down to the viewer. The whole US factual news reporting style is horrible.


memson wrote on August 5th, 2007 at 1:28 AM PST:

oops.. that should read “…US news or even US ducumentaries…”


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on August 5th, 2007 at 1:30 AM PST:

>BBC News 24 reports all of this stuff.

CNN International does too. The problem I presented is about the “top story” and “front page” story rather than not reporting stuff in general.


memson wrote on August 7th, 2007 at 11:09 AM PST:

>>BBC News 24 reports all of this stuff.

> CNN International does too. The problem I presented is
> about the “top story” and “front page” story rather than
> not reporting stuff in general.

BBC News 24 is a free to air 24×7 news channel on Digital terrestial, Sky and Virgin (Antenna, Cable and Satellite.) So, pretty much, yeah it does get seen by the majority of people that watch news channels. The 6pm and 10pm News on the BBC would also cover most international stories. We have 8 or 9 nationally distributed daily papers and countless locals. I don’t think the issues you describe happen here in the UK.


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