Today I watched several US morning news shows – CBS & Morning Joe – and then I watched Aljazeera. One of Aljazeera’s lead stories was the fact that Australia had a new Prime Minister. Neither of the US shows had mentioned that. All of the the US networks focus on easy news. They have virtually no staff overseas. They send their one foreign correspondent to wherever the hot spot of the day is, now the refugees in Europe. If they have any foreign story, it is that one hot spot, and often there is not foreign reporting. Lately anything from the Middle East has just been reported from the foreign correspondent’s base in Turkey. If it’s a European story, it’s likely just to be reported from London, and if it’s Asian, from Beijing or Shanghai, wherever their one correspondent is based. Aljazeera actually has correspondents who go the where the news is happening, even if it is not in a major capital.
Instead of reporting news, the so-called news shows in the US mainly have pundit talking heads, pontificating about the US election, which is still more than a year off. Right now, the campaign is really just a reality show, which partly explains why Donald Trump is doing so well. He is good at reality TV, and the networks love him because he boosts ratings without requiring the networks to do any work. There is always some new meaningless poll they can talk about. With the advent of cell phones, polls are virtually worthless, but the pundits latch on to them as if they were solid gold.
Besides Aljazeera, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are about the the only organizations doing serious reporting. Even on American stories, the networks seldom do any investigative reporting. They just go to press conferences at the White House, the forest fire, or wherever the press gaggle assembles. America is supposed to be an important country leading the world, but it’s difficult for Americans to find out what is happening around the world, or even what is happening in the US. How corrupt is Congress? Americans have opinions, but nobody gives them the facts to back up or refute their opinions.