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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Quick Comparison

On Facebook last week I saw a "Coffee with Jesus" comic posted by a friend. When implored by a faithful believer for advice about finding a reliable, unbiased news source, Jesus suggested the BBC. I laughed out loud at the line "Bonus: they don't yell." Unfortunately, I couldn't find a copy to share (feel free to link one in the comments!), but it did get me thinking about the news we read in the U.S. versus the news read by many in European countries, in Canada and Mexico, in Latin and South America, in the Middle East, in Asia, in Australia... You know, everywhere else.

So I decided to do a quick comparison:

CNN lauds itself as "The Worldwide Leader in News" - so what news does CNN share with us? On the International Edition main page this afternoon, the following were presented as the two most prominent stories (based on page placement):

Dozens Killed in Argentina Train Crash

Deaths of journalists in Syria highlight dangers.

These were featured further down the page: a small collection of stories on the "Crisis in Syria" and Occupy London loses eviction fight. In the second row of stories in the middle of the page was this: Kenyan teens groomed to fight for Somali terrorists.

Not a bad spread.

On the default U.S. Edition, the two most prominent stories were:

Obama: Slash corporate tax breaks and rate

Five things to watch for in tonight's [GOP] debate.

Hmm, okay. Well, it is the U.S. edition, so national news is on top. Okay, I can live with that. Down on the right were a similar collection of stories on Syria. Sorry, on the "Slaughter in Syria." Now, don't get me wrong here - what's going on in Syria is absolutely slaughter, but why was it a crisis in the International version and a slaughter in the U.S. one? Americans like more sensational headlines?

Moving on. In that collection of stories on Syria was this one, What the world owes the slain journalists. Again, don't get me know - the international community owes a great deal to the journalists who have died to bring the murder and razing of he Syrian people to our attention, but we owe more to the Syrian's themselves.

In the same location as the International edition story on Kenyan teens was this video about shoes. Yeah, shoes.

So let's review:

CNN International
Argentinian train crash
The Occupy movement
Somali terrorists

Political moves over taxes
The GOP primary race
A more sensationalized Syria

I may be making a mountain out of a mole hill here, but the default version of CNN for U.S. users is, obviously, the U.S. version. So the default news many Americans get includes U.S. politics instead of fatal train crashes, the GOP debates instead of global movements against capitalism and greed... and shoes instead of terrorists. Am I alone in thinking CNN needs to adjust its domestic priorities a little bit? At least give us the chance to choose the entertainment and consumer stories over international news. Let us decide to be arrogant and read about the Republican race rather than the death of thousands of innocent Syrians. Don't make the choice for us.

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