Demand world news

I find myself envying many things about Europe – their infrastructure, taste in cars and environmentally conscious habits, just to name a few. ‘Why can’t we just be more like England?’ I think to myself. They aren’t that different from us. But, somehow, their proximity to the rest of the world has made them much more responsible. And America stands on its own, fat, lazy and illogical as ever.

This is an older article, but I can only imagine that the problem has gotten worse with the economy.

Demise of the Foreign Correspondent by Pamela Constable (The Washington Post)

I can’t say it better:

“Today, Americans’ need to understand the struggles of distant peoples is greater than ever. Our troops are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, countries that we did not know enough about when we invaded them and that we are still trying to fathom. We have been victimized by foreign terrorists, yet we still cannot imagine why anyone would hate us. Our economy is intimately linked to global markets, our population is nearly 20 percent foreign-born, and our lives are directly affected by borderless scourges such as global warming and AIDS. Knowing about the world is not a luxury; it is an urgent necessity.

But instead of stepping up coverage of international affairs, American newspapers and television networks are steadily cutting back…

In the 1980s, American TV networks each maintained about 15 foreign bureaus; today they have six or fewer…

I am convinced that cutting back on first-hand reporting from abroad and substituting cheaper, simpler forms of overseas news delivery is a false economy and a grave mistake.”

Every American should check up with BBC’s front page for news. Europe manages to keep world news a deep staple throughout hard times. And, perhaps for people like us, they even regularly broadcast a minute-long World News update.

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Recapping the ’00s

Its been a rocky (and difficult to name) decade. And as the fresh 2010 approaches, Newsweek and Time have both taken on the task of recapping it.

The ’00s: Goodbye (at Last) to the Decade from Hell
Time’s cover story this past week had a clever photograph and impressive timeline of the closing decade. It also had an optimistic view on why times will be getting better. It was well done, considering the daunting topic. More features online include a cringe-worthy photo essay – ‘The 10 Worst Things About the Worst Decade Ever.’

The Decade in Rewind: Newsweek 2010
I’ve got to hand it to Newsweek because they created an entire website based around their 2010 feature, and it has some great multimedia work. I could spend an hour looking through their Top 10 Lists alone, which range from Most Important Dates to Celebrity Mugshots. They also have a dozen sure to be poignant essays, a slideshow narrating each year and a ‘Decade in Seven Minutes’ video. Wow. I think we have a winner. And I think I’m going to be more than ready for 2010 after I finish reading/watching all this.

Christmas in the media

Since Thanksgiving ended, there have been all kinds of reports trying to judge whether Cyber Monday or Black Friday drew more sales this year. But do consumers really care about these conflicting statistics? We each have our own preferences for shopping. And I doubt anyone is on Team Monday or Team Friday. Everyone is just on Team Get it the Hell Done.

Personally, I’m a online window shopper. I prefer to be shown what crazy products are out there before I stand in line at 4 a.m. The internet is where its at to find the most ridiculous holiday ideas of the season. Here are some gems I found today:

Presents for your pet (Boston Globe)

Pick your geek gift (MSNBC)

Pretty and practical gifts for the home (The Washington Post)

10 best travel gifts under $30 (ABC)

A timeline of the top-selling Christmas gifts… ever. (Esquire)

39 gifts we don’t want (Marie Claire)

Alright, maybe I got a little carried away with this one. But judging by the amount of gift idea compilations on the web, who doesn’t??

1969 vs. 2009

How similar are Afghanistan and Vietnam? GOOD columnist Jessie Daniels covers the political parallels between the wars in this article. An interesting read, considering it was written before President Obama’s speech on Tuesday night. It seems that keeping quiet was the worst thing Obama could have done. Now that he has chosen a path, it is our job to either rebel or trust him.

Of course, my generation doesn’t seem to be incredibly involved on either front. The baby boomers had a knack for expressing themselves through protest music and festivals. We have a knack for distracting ourselves with bad television and Youtube videos. Sorry, future generations. We won’t be able to tell you much when all this is over.

White house crashers

I wish the media would help me out with this. Someone, please, let me know how it happened and assure me that it won’t again. And that I’ll stop hearing about reality star wannabes against my will.

And yes, it was a reality show stint.

“Not incidentally, the Salahis’ preparations for the event were reportedly filmed by a camera crew, a detail related to the fact that Michaele Salahi is apparently in the running for the Bravo reality series “The Real Housewives of D.C.” And although the “Today” show has a policy of not paying for interviews, an unnamed television executive was widely quoted as saying that the pair were seeking “bids” in the mid-six-figure range to tell their story.” –LA Times

“We’re greatly saddened by all the circumstances … portraying my wife and I as party crashers. I can tell you we did not party-crash the White House.”

So, what did you do?

Honoring the fallen

We’ve seen Nidal Mallk Hasan’s terrifyingly unsuspecting, round face everywhere by now. The sight is enough to make your hair stand up. But what about the Americans that we lost in his traumatic massacre? 

TIME Magazine covered the story by slapping his near life-size face on their cover with “TERRORIST?” headlined over his eyes. Their feature speculated the scary new possibility of “lone-wolf terrorism” rising in America.

But it simply felt too soon to rob the event’s humanity and go into analysis. After Columbine, the spotlight was on the victims first. Our military should be given no less respect than our young students.

I feel that NPR’s coverage was more tasteful. They put together a touching slideshow of the memorial service and aftermath, highlighting the community’s efforts to support those who lost loved ones.

CNN covers Obama & Afghanistan equally

President Obama announced his plan to stabilize Afghanistan earlier tonight. There will be 30,000 troops deployed within six months to hasten the process of trusting the nation on its own. Hopefully, within three years most troops will leave Afghanistan for good.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for some Americans. Especially when we don’t understand this faraway war that has been dragging on for eight years. However, CNN makes it clear that Afghanistan people are not to blame. In fact, we might have more in common with them than we think. On the network’s front web page, right beside the full story on Obama’s speech, there is a video feature titled ‘The battle for Afghan hearts and minds.’

“I want all the coalition authorities and all our brothers to reconcile with the Taliban, so we can solve this problem,” said Khan Mohammad, an Afghan farmer. “Make everyone happy and bring peace to our country so we can go back home.”

I’m sure both countries can agree on this last statement. Kudos to Obama for trying to work quickly towards this goal.