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As an American, I admit that I have a bit of a bias on this subject, but I'd like to provide my opinion nonetheless. From my experience some, perhaps many, Americans have an ethnocentric view of the world and this view is perhaps reinforced by the media here in America. Not surprisingly, the media in the US tends to focus primarily on news in the US, but in my opinion this focus is disproportionate. There are exceptions in the media, but Americans have to seek for news sources that provide a more "worldly" view. I believe (and this is only my opinion) that we in America often believe that America is the "center" of the world and so we needn't worry ourselves with other cultures or countries. When taking this view of the world however, an American may also believe that it is incumbent on others to learn about the US and its culture, language, etc, not the other way around. Not only is this viewpoint shortsighted, but it's also detrimental and, well, arrogant. |
In today's global economy, it is important, if not necessary, for Americans to learn about countries, cultures, and languages outside of our own. And yet, it seems that many Americans are fairly ignorant when it comes to the rest of the world. Unfortunately the American media does not help in increasing our understanding of the world outside of America, since their coverage is so focused on the US. Any outside coverage tends to focus much more on Europe than on Asia (perhaps because of our historical ties to Europe?), though this is changing little by little. Often times, when we DO get coverage on Asia, the news is overwhelmingly negative. (To be fair, much of the news that we get about our own country is also overwhelmingly negative.) Perhaps sensational news sells more newspapers. Perhaps Americans are engaged by these types of news stories. Perhaps it is a way for Americans to feel that they are much better off than the rest of the world. I don't have the answer as to why the media coverage on Asia is usually negative. I just know that, from my experience, the media coverage on Asia tends to be weak, minimal, and usually unfavorable.
It is one thing for media coverage on America to be prejudicial - most Americans know enough about their own country to make an informed judgment. But it is another thing for media coverage on countries outside of the US to be prejudicial. Many Americans are not well enough informed to see this prejudice. In order to get differing view points, even points of view with which they may disagree, and to better understand people outside of America, it is important for Americans to seek for media coverage that covers not just the US, but the rest of the world as well. This media does exist, but it requires the willingness to search for it - a willingness that many Americans lack. Learning about the world outside the US is the only way in which Americans will be able to discern biases in the American media, or at the very least for them to understand more about the cultures, motivations, needs, and hopes of people outside of the US. It seems, unfortunately, that much of the American media is unwilling or unable to provide this information.