Where is the news America?

I just saw a report about the devastating drought in Niger on BBC World News (PBS). I caught only the last few minutes. The visuals of infants and children whose chests would barely span the width of my wrist were some of the most gut-wrenching images I have seen. Children starving and people desperate for medicine and food to save as many lives as possible. The effect of the reporter just dispassionately reporting had more impact than all the impassioned rhetoric and self-importance any American news channel can (and regularly will) muster. Natalee Halloway, it seems, is more important than this.

So I ask you America, where is the news? Does anyone truly not care anymore?

Nope, not really. The world sucks and there isn’t a damn thing I can do to save anybody outside of my community, so that is where I concentrate my efforts. Starving people in Africa don’t even register with me anymore. I refuse to spend my life outraged about things I can’t change or influence in any way.

I’m just a citizen that lives here, I don’t report the news. How can individuals on this board, from America, unless they work for MSNBC, CNN, etc…, answer this question? I don’t care about Natalee Halloway!

There has been very little in the news lately about either Africa or South America. OTOH, there’s been a great emphasis on North Korea (despite the impending implosing of that nation) and Iran, albeit it, not to the extent of the hourly updates on the case of a somewhat attractive blond American woman who disappeared in a popular vacation destination.

Paddy Chayefsky and Sidney Lumet had it all figured out thirty years ago. It has just been up to CNN and MSNBC to fill in the details. It’s all entertainment, and dark skinned people with bloated stomachs in some malaria-ridden nation on the other side of the planet is only entertaining for so long.

African famine is so 'Eighties.


BBC is a government funded news source, IIRC. Aside from NPR, which I’m pretty sure is only received by a very small fraction of the public, America doesn’t really have a non-corporate news source. Since most of our media is corporate owned, it’s profit driven, and profits come from ratings. Starving Africans are (sadly) old news. They just don’t grab ratings anymore. So the news moves on to something else that does grab the public attention.

It IS sad, and I don’t really have an answer for why, but it seems like any measure of suffering can only be of interest to most people for so long before they decide that ‘that’s just the way things are over there.’ It becomes just another image on a tv that’s full of exaggerated images. I think that a lot of us just can’t really empathize with a situation that is so incredibly foriegn to us. The blessed have a difficult time understanding the plight of the forsaken*. Once they accept that opinion, it takes quite a bit to force the reality of it back into their heads.

*I’m not religious, I just mean that when you’re used to having all the basics covered almost by default, it seems very odd to think that there are people in this world which struggle for them. They worry about not dying, I worry about whether I should buy the iPod this month or wait till next. The gulf is so big, it takes a bit of imagination to realize it. I consider myself to be an empathetic person, but even for me it’s hard to imagine a situation where I’m actually, you know, starving. It just seems so very far away, if that makes any sense whatsoever.

There was an editor’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald a few weeks ago that was titled something like “Why this will never make the front page.” It was an analysis of the fact that 25,000 people PER DAY die of hunger and extreme poverty, and by rights this should be on the front page of every newspaper every day… but this won’t sell newspapers. People don’t want to be reminded of this horrible reality, day after day after day. Very few people have enough influence and anger to actually try and make a dent in those statistics, the average shmuck even less so. If every person in the Western world regularly donated money to charitable organisations and sponsored a child, would it have an effect on the problem?
Change needs to occur at the national and international political level. Politics doesn’t take into account human life, just money, land and resources, at the moment.

Were any of the infants and children white and/or American…?


             Then, like **silenus**, we just don't give a fuck.

I teared up when reading your OP, though… I had a fleeting but terrifying thought enter my head… what if Natalee Holloway starved to death because of a drought?

Yeah, I might live thousands of miles away from where she’s from, but dammit… she’s certainly part of MY community and I will concentrate my efforts on her and any other pretty white women who are on the news every hour. I certainly hope and pray that I can change and influence what happens to her!

What was is Terry Pratchett said? Something about three types of people in the world? The glass is half-full some say, while others see it as half-empty. But the world belongs to those rude, selfish, arrogent, narcissistic, asshole fuckers who look at the glass and cluelessly spew: “What’s up with this glass?! Excuse me?!!EXCUSE ME!!! This is MY glass? I DON’T THINK SO!!! MY glass was full! And it was a BIGGER GLASS, GODDAMMIT!!!”

That describes your average American perfectly: self-absorbed and concerned only about themselves and other people who look, speak and vote just like they do.

I sure am glad there’s no God… otherwise the USA would already be burning in Hell if for no other reason than Joe Six-pack’s bull-headed, ignorant arrogance; his wanton greed, un-quenchable gluttony and some other sins that haven’t even been named yet.

The BBC is mostly funded by the TV license fee, apart from the World Service, which is funded by the Foreign Office. The BBC has also received funds from the EU.

Here are three CNN stories (from the AP and Reuters) about the Niger famine:


And here’s Fox News with the Reuters story


And here’s MSNBC:


If you hate Americans so much, why do you still live here?

I never said that I hate America. In fact, I love America. That’s why I’m so upset seeing our great country hi-jacked by knuckle-dragging, materialistic, self-obsessed, Kool-Aid drinking troglodytes.

This kills me. Except for the Kool-Aid, you could be talking about the America of 1843 or 1791 or 1968 or 1925.

Oh, and you can add the Kool-Aid back in for 1968, although for 1925 you’d have to go with Fruit Smack.

I never said you did, either - I said you hate Americans. Who do you mean by “our” in “our great country”? You and a few of your friends?

For his next trick, Hyperelastic will attempt to prove that one is not truly American unless one is a knuckle-dragging, materialistic, self-obsessed, Kool-Aid drinking troglodyte.

If anyone is trying to set standards for what Americans “should” think and do, it’s I Love Me, Vol. I. And now you’re jumping on the bandwagon. Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here. Maybe you could put on some kind of televised seminar, where you instruct our great populace how to be less like Archie Bunker and more like Sally Struthers.

I knew I wasn’t fitting in somehow. :o

And since when to troglodytes drink Kool-Aid? Kindergarteners and religious cultists, yeah. But troglodytes? I mean, is this just limited to the ones living below the NYC subways, or are we talking about your died-in-the-wool, beady-eyed, cave-dwelling legions that will someday spontaneously erupt to the surface and grab all the licentious pinot grigio-sipping Eloi for a massive cannibalistic barbeque?

Inquiring minds want to know. And while were at it, what’s up with Bat-Boy recently? Last I knew he was in Iraq, searching out Saddam Hussain. Maybe we could put him on the case.


Hey dude, calm down. It’s true–you did say I hate Americans, not that I hate America. My bad on that one. So to clarify, I hate neither. But I do have trouble understanding how so many people can be willfully ignorant. And where did you get the idea I said what Americans “should” be?

Look–mostly I was just responding to the part about Natalee Hollyway in the OP. I believe that there are people who are obsessed with stories like that and who don’t care at all about more important issues like a felonious deputy Chief-of-Staff and a bloody, illegal war (these are both debatable, but that’s all the more reason for people to pay greater attention to such stories.)

“Joe Six-pack” was a poor choice of words. It implies that I’m talking only about “regular blue-collar, stand-up guys”. I was using it to mean “average American”. So what I meant was *"*some Americans’ * bull-headed, ignorant arrogance; wanton greed, un-quenchable gluttony and some other sins that haven’t even been named yet." *

There are fool-headed Americans, of course, across all ideological, economic, racial and whatever other groups you care to name. I’m just sick of this whole dominant anti-intellectual climate. People actually hating knowlege and praising ignorance!! It’s like we’re living an Orwell book!!

I have measured hope for our future, but we’re going to have to actually start offering all people a well-rounded and rich education at some point so we can get through this.

PS-- You asked what I meant by “our”. I meant us. You and me and everyone else who is an American.

Even if it was in the news, what difference would it really make?

I’m serious, tell me.
One, I don’t controll the news. Believe you me, it would be totally different if I ran the news department at a network.

But you know, there are bombings in London and now a resort town in Egypt. We have this nomination to the Supreme Court. I hate to tell you this but in reality, it is all the news that FITS.

So is this thread meant to be about media shortcomings, about people starving to death in Niger, about American stereotypes, or about some chick called Natalie Holoway?