Despite an intelligence and surveillance budget greater than the GDP of most countries in the world—something in the order of $70-100 billion—we remain remarkably ignorant of how other nations manage their affairs on both a macro and a micro basis.
This extraordinary paradox exists despite the fact (based upon evidence rather than opinion) that many countries manage their affairs—in whole or in part—a great deal better than we do.
This is particularly relevant where economies are concerned. Here we have a plethora of real life multiyear case histories which indicate both what works and what doesn’t work—and which we could learn a great more from than from our (decidedly inadequate) computer models.
Many of the answers we seek—or should be seeking--are out there and proven.
Bluntly, there is rarely a substitute for practical experience—and though there are certainly great cultural differences, human nature is universal. In short, what works in Sweden or Germany (for instance) probably could work here—if we gave it a chance.
The U.S. powers-that-be-seem fairly determined to foster intellectual isolationism together which, together with the notion of American exceptionalism, means that this nation suffers from an advanced version of NIH (Not Invented Here) syndrome: If it isn’t American, it’s second rate and we shouldn’t even try it.
Oh really! Well, it would be nice to have a choice—and to make such choices we need to know what is going on in other countries in enough detail to make evidence-based decisions.
The following is an extract from an article by Jim Lobe of Inter Press Service.
Major Parts of the World Ignored by US TV News in 2013
Syria and celebrities dominated foreign coverage by ABC, NBC, and CBS – whose combined evening news broadcasts are the single most important media source of information about national and international events for most Americans. Vast portions of the globe went almost entirely ignored, according to the latest annual review by the authoritative Tyndall Report.
Latin America, most of Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia apart from Afghanistan, and virtually all of East Asia – despite growing tensions between China and Washington’s closest regional ally, Japan – were virtually absent from weeknight news programmes of ABC, NBC, and CBS last year, according to the report, which has tracked the three networks’ evening news coverage continuously since 1988.
Surveys by the Pew Research Centre for the People & the Press, among other polling and research groups, show that about two-thirds of the general public cite television as their main source for national and international news, more than twice the number of people who rely on newspapers, and about one-third more than the growing number of individuals whose primary source is the internet.
An average of about 21 million U.S. residents watch the network news on any given evening. While the cable news channels – CNN, FoxNews, and MSNBC – often get more public attention, their audience is actually many times smaller, according to media-watchers.
“In 2012, more than four times as many people watched the three network newscasts than watched the highest-rated show on the three cable channels during prime time,” Emily Guskin, a research analyst for the Pew Research Centre’s Journalism Project, told IPS.
This adds up to a fundamental indictment of the networks—and begs the question: Why does this situation exist? It’s certainly not an accident. That means it is deliberate. That fact has truly frightening implications.