Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lost News

In my very first post on this blog I commented on the vast difference in reporting on the US network's national news broadcasts and the BBC. Last night, I sat minding my own business with NBC on in the background when all of a sudden the BBC news came on and it was like I was in a different universe. Yesterday was the day that Kofi Annan decided to present his last speech as UN Secretary General. He chose to deliver this speech in Independence, MO. Why, because that is the birth place of President Truman and the location of his library. Truman was a strong supporter of the United Nations.

In his speech, Annan strongly rebuked the policies of the United States saying "no nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others." In his comments afterward, he denied that the speech was directed at President Bush but it is clear from the rest of his speech that this was a justifiable conclusion. Annan wants the US to own up to its position as a world leader and be true to its own ideals which in the past five years we have selectively ignored. It was a damning speech but it wasn't on NBC. As I have stated before, I believe the network news shows should proffer an international view that leads to greater understanding and comprehension of international issues. It doesn't look like NBC even sent a reporter.

Just when I thought the contrast couldn't be any worse, the next story on BBC was about the startling lack of basic knowledge of key congressional leaders regarding international facts and issues. The story is titled, "Al-Qaeda Confuses US Congressman" which is worrying enough. The editor of Congressional Quarterly had occasion to ask certain members things like, who is Sunni and who is Shiite, what is the difference, what is Hezbollah and a number of other things. He specifically mentioned Silvestre Reyes who is the incoming House Intelligence Committee chair. You may say he is just gearing up, but in fact he has been on the committee for many years. Perhaps, NBC doesn't think this is a story however, when there is so much wrong information circulating about our foreign affair forays - Saddam supported 9/11 terrorists for example - one would think that NBC and others should jump on this story as evidence that even our leadership isn't sufficiently educated about the facts. That being the case how can we expect the electorate to know what's going on?

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