A perspective from Perth, Western Australia

Friday, August 11, 2006

News coverage

The news in recent weeks has gotten to the point where even me - the ultimate news junkie - has been known to turn off the news at times because it either becomes too depressing, too frustrating, or too repetitive, and has found it easier to resist the temptation to hear the morning bulletin when NewsRadio, my primary source of info, kicks in with its own coverage between 3:30am and 10am WST - they do have by far the best breakfast program if you like news and sport delivered with both precision and at times humour.

One of NewsRadio's strongest points is its diversity of news sources - it plays two hours a day of Deutsche-Welle (German radio), two hours of National Public Radio (an independent American broadcast), one hour of Radio Netherlands and several of the BBC World Service, as well as other specialty programs such as Asia Pacific and several business, science/technology and sport programs.

However, with news of anything that breaks in the UK or USA, BBC coverage (among others) tends to fall into a rut of reporting the same news in 100 different ways before anyone really knows what's going on, and relying on analysts, experts and world leaders speaking to plug the gaps. The news today is not even news, but the threat to make news - a plot has reportedly been discovered involving planes and the whole country (UK) is in lockdown. Considering their past combined investigative efforts resulted in the death of an innocent man of Brazilian ethnicity and the injuring and imprisoning of two innocent Muslims (later released) in a raid rivalling Sanders & Simpkins subtlety in the movie "Whoops Apocalypse" (1986), I am a tad sceptical.

The funniest assessment of the news comes from Daniel Carter's assessment of the DW Radio bulletin, which is quoted in full below:

Story 1: The plot. News from the UK.
Story 2: The plot. News from the US.
Story 3: People blowing each other into tiny bits in the Middle East, in complete defiance of common sense. Reports from both sides.
Story 4: People with common sense criticising the protagonists of Story 3 (HRW; aid organisations).
Story 5: People blowing each other into tiny bits in a different bit of the Middle East. (Iraq)
Story 6: People blowing each other into tiny bits in Sri Lanka.

There is a disturbing pattern. The theme music comes almost as a relief. Is this a true reflection of what's going on in the world, or is this a failure of emphasis and perspective on the part of the world's news agencies?


Anonymous Daniel Carter said...

Thanks for the comments! It is genuinely sad how lacking in diversity even the most reliable news sources become when a major event happens. I even caught one talking about "death in unprecedented amounts" and wondered "I wonder how someone in Beirut or Baghdad might feel about that statement?"

2:01 am


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