[slight hijack here]
Very good point Duck Duck.
Indeed, there’s a perception of the USA from outside the USA, which I hasten to add is merely a dreadful generalisation and is far from true, but nonetheless, that perception is this - if you’re a typical American living in the wheat belt for example, unless you saw it on TV, it never happened - which by extension means it CAN’T be important.
Now I personally don’t subscribe to that perception - but certainly, there’s merit in the assertion that the TV news within the USA is extraordinarily insular.
I would add, however, that such an observation doesn’t apply to quality broadsheet newspapers as an example of “quality in depth news coverage” but TV news is a different kettle of fish. It is as much to do with ratings as anything else, and “home stories” simply get better ratings than “overseas stories which I can’t relate to…”
Moreover, Duck Duck, your observation inherently demonstrates the odd paradox regarding US Television News at the moment - that is, it’s abundantly more OUTPUT than it is INPUT in terms of where the stories generally emanate from. On average, the rest of the world gets at least 25% of their daily news (I would estimate) emanating FROM the USA. As an outsider looking in, I would say that the majority of the world knows demonstrably more about what’s happening WITHIN the United States at any given time, than the citizens of the United States know about the rest of the world.
I hasten to add that this does not apply to the incredibly well read and worldly US members of the Straight Dope Message Board obviously.
But my point is a salient one - it’s a point which explains why so many societies around the world are somewhat “sick and tired” of the USA’s perceptions of self-importance. I would add that I don’t agree with such reactions, but the reality is that such reactions ARE taking place on a daily basis aound the world.
There are many editorials in major national newspapers around the globe which reflect an amazing degree of exasperation with the “self absorption of the United States”. But here’s the thing… I don’t feel that way at all, and here’s why…
I simply don’t watch much television. I get far more knowledge of world events from reading this Message Board than I do from pretty well anywhere else if truth be known. And here, on the Straight Dope Message Board, I constantly derive limitless pleasure from the extraordinary knowledge and understanding which is constantly displayed by Americans regarding the rest of the world.
If truth be known, I rather think that US Commercial Television is arguably the worst ambassador Americans could ask for actually. By and large, it projects a thoroughly improper picture of how worldly and understanding you Americans truly are.
[end of slight hijack]