Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The US media’s negative coverage of other countries – Misportrayal vs. Reality

As we know, the US news media has nothing good to say about anything abroad. It portrays everything outside the US matrix (and within as well) as “bad” and “horrible”. They’ve always had this horrid tendency to misrepresent life in other countries, portraying them as war-torn, poverty stricken, oppressed, dangerous and uncivilized. However, travelers who go to those countries that the US media portrays in a bad light, often find the refreshing opposite, and discover a new world that the US media tried to hide them from.

For instance, we all know the completely negative coverage of the Middle East by the US media. That region is always portrayed as primitive, barbaric, war-torn, violent, extremely dangerous, and where people are always ready to take your life at any moment. But those who have been there report how safe, calm and peaceful it really is, as well as how hospitable the people are. They report that shop owners will make friends with customers who browse their shop and offer them a free place to stay for the night, with no strings attached, out of pure kindness and hospitality. Some are amazed at how crime-free much of the Middle East is. For example, in Lebanon, if you drop a wallet on a public street with many pedestrians, and return a few days later, your wallet will still be there, exactly where you left it. Of course, the strict punishment laws there (such as chopping off the hands of thieves) play a role in helping to make it so safe. One guy even told me that he felt more safe and comfortable there than in New York City even.

One thing that has never changed is that Hollywood movies still project the image onto the audience that in other countries, life is a hellish struggle to stay alive and that death is waiting around every corner. That is completely inaccurate. For example, the recent hit flick “The Kingdom” portrayed Saudi Arabia as just such a place. However, a friend of mine who works there had this to say about the movie and what it’s really like there:

“The movie was just another gross exaggeration of Hollywood. I live here and it is very peaceful, tranquil, and nothing ever happens. But it’s good that movies like that keep people away so no one comes and tries to take away my job.”

In addition, some parts of the Middle East are even more advanced technologically than the US. For instance, a friend who works in Oman showed me photos on his laptop of Dubai, showing modern clean the city streets, and the existence of 7 star hotels with futuristic designs, as well as a building built for INDOOR SKIING! He explained how the average income there is higher than in the US! Yet NONE of these things are EVER covered by the US media! (You see now, how you can’t base your knowledge of the world on the US media, as it teaches you NOTHING about the rest of the world?)

Here are some images of the 7 star hotel, indoor skiing area, and futuristic looking city being constructed in Dubai:


For more images from Dubai, see this Powerpoint presentation from which the above images were taken from:

http://www.happierabroad.com/Dubailandiaeng.pps

Now let’s take the example of Africa. The US media is always showing Africa to be a continent where only savage jungle tribes and violent gang wars on the streets exist. But there is so much of the continent that is civilized, advanced, modern, and peaceful. Yet those areas are totally ignored by the American news media.

A reader of mine who went to Serbia had this to say about his experiences there:

“Hi Winston

I have read your description of life in Russia and how it is the opposite of what is portrayed about it in the States.

I have had similar experiences in my travels of Serbia & Montenegro.... i recommend you check it out one day. It is not a place full of warmongers and genocidal murderers that the US politicians and media have portrayed. It is the place where all the people only want one thing.... to love and to be loved .

regards
Dule”

On the other hand, I’ve been told that in Europe, the media tends to have a far more equal balance in its coverage of good and bad stories, unlike the US media which focuses almost purely on negative stories, disasters, bad news, bad people, etc. which I feel is unwholesome and pointless. There are far better things I could be doing with my time and life than to listen.

It is said that in France and Britain, the media is intellectual whereas in the US, it is not. This is easily observable though, for if you glance at a mainstream newspaper in either France or Britain, you will see that the scope, depth and variety of the content are of higher quality than in the US.

It’s such a pity that the US news media does so much to discourage Americans from going overseas, where they can discover whole new worlds and cultures, expand their minds and souls, and make dreams and fantasies come true which otherwise never would in the US. I hope that my website and ebook help to counteract the media’s completely negative portrayal of other countries. After all, since they show only negative things (like disasters), why can’t I only show positive things? It’s only fair. And if you’re interested, you can start with my legendary extensive photojournals.

Remember, the US media isn’t going to encourage you to go out and explore the real world. No way. They aren’t going to tell you anything positive about it. They don’t even tell you or teach you ANYTHING about other countries. Instead, they want you to stay home and live in fear and paranoia, so that you’ll feel empty and need to consume and buy stuff. Don’t buy their feeble attempt at brainwashing you. In fact, I would urge you and others out there not to even watch the US network news, nor its printed forms such as Time Magazine, Newsweek, US News and World Report, etc. as nothing good can come from it. They don’t tell or teach you anything useful or relevant to your life. All they do is frighten you with bad news and disasters. There are far better things you can do with your time that are healthier, more effective and beneficial.

The ramifications of the US population made ignorant of the international world by the US media are more than you might think, as my cultural consultant eloquently states:

http://forum.internationalliving.com/viewtopic.php?t=491
“Being uninformed about the rest of the world does more harm than earning the title of being "dumb". People who think that they live in paradise while unaware of the many social and technological improvements that are always taking place in other countries will eventually fall behind in many areas. They will not be able to adopt many exciting innovations that are being introduced around the world all the time. Japan had video- cell phones as early as late nineties and Singapore solved its race problem once and for all by very ingenuous quota systems that seem to benefit rather than harm. Many countries, such as Slovenia ( Where is that?) have small per capita prison populations and have much better programs to rehabilitate prisoners. However, if Americans do not know about them, how will the country improve? They will not be able to elect good leaders and will support international campaigns of dubious usefulness which drain US resources by diverting money from home to some overseas ventures in which patriotic Americans always die. They will believe myths about how the rest of the world is a God-forsaken place and if they become just like the US, they will be OK. Such ignorance creates suffering and death and stalls progress at home and abroad. And changing that requires improving the education at home and creating a new generation of highly intelligent, worldly citizens. Such Americans will probably be the world's most perfect human beings.”

To be fair though, other countries and their media can also portray themselves as the “center of the world”, overinflating their importance to themselves that is not shared by other countries. My culture consultant gives the following examples from his multi-national experience:

http://forum.internationalliving.com/viewtopic.php?t=491
“Most countries have an overinflated view of themselves and their role in the world. In Thailand they think that the whole world knows their king and that he is some great world leader next to Kofi Annan ( sp). In the US, they think that events in the US, especially the 9/11 "changed the world forever". Also, that every human being on the face of the earth would rather be living in the US than back in his country. In Arab countries, they think that the entire world is looking to them to be taken out of darkness and to be converted to Islam. The Russians think that the most important event of the 20th century was the October Revolution of 1917. Again, the countries, their media and educational systems confuse "our country" with "the world". Most people do not know Thai king's name and have never seen him. Most people like to live in their countries and 9/11 changed *the US* forever, but people in Bhutan, Lithuania and Mali were not changed by the 9/11 events which took place in a country very far away from theirs. Most people do not want to be converted to Islam and the Russian revolution of 1917 was an important event for *them*. Not for the world.”

3 comments:

  1. Winston,

    Remember my last email to you, the American media never shows any "nice, good, wholesome, happy people or things" they only show the 1% to 2% nasty, horrid people and events. AND THAT’S JUST USA NEWS

    Unless there are people dying from destruction, either human based or by nature, we never hear about other places in the world.

    But, the internet is slowly changing that, and for the first time we are starting to see a glimpse of the outside world. Especially from emerging smaller countries who are starting to show themselves online.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Please write an article of the US portrayal of Russia and Russian people and how they really are.

    ReplyDelete
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