When asked about celebrities or sports teams, an average American will give you an enthusiastic and well-versed response. Ask the average American about current affairs around the world, however, and you will receive a much less informed answer.
Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says, “The tragedy is that the public’s understanding of world affairs in America today is abysmal.”
PewResearch surveys show that people want more focus on local news, but they fail to realize how much influence international news has over what is going on at home. As a democracy, the US relies on its citizens informed participation in order to function, and Brzezinski calls the US people “the least-informed public about the world.”
But who is to blame for an uninformed public?
In recent years, newspapers have been forced to cut staff and tighten spending. As a result, many news sources have eliminated their foreign correspondents, and now simply take and edit stories from larger newspapers for their own use. A growing trend of news focus staying national instead of international has the country in its grasp, and must be addressed.
Financial cut backs cannot take all the blame for a lack of International coverage. Some blame must be attributed to the people as well. The following image from the Daily Show, shows Time Magazine’s altered cover for the American version. This is just one example of “fluff” getting in the way of important news.
The media in America is a complicated thing that requires constant updating, but we must be sure to retain the elements of news that keep the nation informed. The US plays too large a role in the global community for its citizens to remain ignorant.