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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“To stay informed, look abroad”

Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton raised some eyebrows by criticizing media coverage in the United States while praising the work of Al Jazeera English. Last Wednesday, during her testimony, she said, “”You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news that is not providing information to us, let alone foreigners.”” Unfortunately, Clinton is correct. The way Americans receive their news is clearly lacking.

It seems as though the only legitimate way to stay informed is through print media, but with record low profits, it’s unclear as to how much longer newspapers will actually be around. Cable news is, of course, a joke. You would need the IQ of a tree sloth to not see the glaring biases within Fox News and MSNBC, and while CNN is the most trustworthy of the three, its depth of coverage is still deficient.

CNN seems to be more focused on covering issues that people want to hear about, instead of issues that they need to hear about. In fact, recently they’ve unveiled a segment where people choose which story they want to hear about. Shouldn’t they just tell viewers all the news they need to hear?

If Americans truly want to be informed on domestic political issues, one must look abroad for the most decent coverage. By far, the best news organization in the world is the BBC. The British Broadcasting Corporation’s coverage of American issues is far superior to the coverage by American networks in that they don’t focus so much on the rhetoric spewed from both sides of the political aisle. One can learn more about what’s going on in the US Congress from a simple trip to the BBC News website in a few clicks than an hour spent watching CNN.  

If you want to learn about global issues, definitely steer clear of cable news. Interested in the Middle East? Read Al Jazeera English. Interested in the Arab/Israeli Conflict? Read Al Jazeera English in combination with Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. Interested in Europe? Read the BBC, Financial Times or Deutsche Welle English. The truth is that Fox News and MSNBC are seemingly incapable of telling a story without allowing their biases to show through and CNN will not tell you everything you need to know.  

Of course there are credible news organizations in the United States that could compete with even the best foreign outlets any day, but as stated earlier, these are mostly newspapers. It’s hard to find a newspaper anywhere that goes into as much depth as The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. Say what you like about the editorial pages of these two papers, but you will not find better coverage of legitimate news anywhere else in the country. In addition, the evening network news is still trustworthy and informative, but there’s only so much that can be crammed into a 30-minute newscast.

So if you truly want information on the issues that affect both our country and our planet, turn off the cable news. Broaden your mind and read what foreign journalists have to say about our country and how we do things. Often times what they say is more accurate than what our own journalists say. But don’t just take my word for it. Go to these websites and see for yourself. There’s no question that you will walk away significantly more informed.

— Andrew Shepherd is a political science senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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