You are what you watch

Who said Americans are not subject to propaganda? Or brain wash?

"So why don’t other countries see the world the way we do? News coverage is a large part of the answer. "

Any chance of paraphrasing the article for those of us who are not, and have little intention of joining NY Times online?

Damn, I thought I had a chance to be a porn star.

The writer argued that the reason Europeans see things (namely on the upcoming war in Iraq) so much differently than Americans is that it’s not about the culture, it’s not about the history, but about the news coverages that the media presented to them. - “We have different views partly because we see different news.” By news he meant TV that Americans watch.

He used the weekend anti-war demonstrations all over the world to illustrate his point: “What would someone watching cable news have seen? On Saturday, news anchors on Fox described the demonstrators in New York as “the usual protesters” or “serial protesters.” CNN wasn’t quite so dismissive, but on Sunday morning the headline on the network’s Web site read “Antiwar rallies delight Iraq,” and the accompanying picture showed marchers in Baghdad, not London or New York. This wasn’t at all the way the rest of the world’s media reported Saturday’s events, but it wasn’t out of character. For months both major U.S. cable news networks have acted as if the decision to invade Iraq has already been made, and have in effect seen it as their job to prepare the American public for the coming war.”

Essentially, U.S. cable news, according the writer, seems to be reporting about a different planet than the one covered by foreign media, like those what people see in Europe.

The conclusion is - the media in US is operating in an environment in which anyone who questions the administration’s foreign policy is accused of being unpatriotic. They have taken it as their assignment to sell the war, not to present a mix of information that might call the justification for war into question - bad journalism.

NYT registration is free.

Krugman had a good basic point, but diluted it by implying Fox and CNN are the main sources of news for most Americans. For many, that’s true, but it’s still too broad a premise. The millions who showed up at the peace demonstrations last weekend, and the many millions more who agree with them, show otherwise.

I disagree Elvis. I mean, yeah, Krugman’s premise is too broad if it’s meant to be the one and only explanation of what might differ between the US and Europe. That would be reductive in the extreme. But it’s a fact that most Americans get their news from television. And it isn’t as though getting your news from CBS or ABC is any different than from CNN, is it? Indeed, these days even PBS has its share of talk-show ideologues more interested in selling the war, than in investigating its underpinnings in a serious way. I would not be surprised to find that those who protested and who otherwise take an interest in the war get their news from other sources–e.g., NPR, broadsheet newspapers like the Times–instead of or in addition to television news.

Unwritten, as Elvis points out, NYT registration is free and you can make up any name you like. (I did post an excerpt from Krugman’s column in the “Millions of Protesters” thread.)

Mandelstam, perhaps the point is that there are those both willing and able to do their own fact-finding and thinking , and sheep. That can be true on either side of the Great Middle as well as in it.

Despite the hawkish mass-media barrage in the US, though, there is by no means a hawkish consensus among the populace, nor are the doves and the undecideds unable to be informed.

Yes, despite the hawkish media barrage…, but the point is that the “hawkish media barrage” may be an important factor influencing the general public opinion in the U.S.

What jshore said.

I wonder, Elvis if you aren’t taking Krugman to mean that Americans are boob-tube saturated dolts, whereas Europeans are enlightened culture buffs. Although some people do make that argument (though usually in less extreme terms), it’s not precisely what Krugman seems to be on about. Nor does Krugman seem to be saying that no one in the States can rise above the influence of crummy and ideological commercial media: Krugman himself clearly rises above it, and I’m sure he’d agree with you that the protests in the US point to a large group of people who also do. Still, significant differences remain (just as differences remain between here and Canada) and I agree with Krugman that our television media is a part of it.

Since Krugman mentions Eric Alterman’s new book on the so-called liberal media, I thought I’d post Alterman’s recent article-legnth version of his work. It’s well worth reading and–if you’re still with us Unwritten–you won’t have to register to read it.

Or perhaps general public world view as well. E.g., if the press constantly harped on myriad UN resolutions against Israel, or the fact that they democratically elected a guy who lost his gov’t. job for war crimes in 1982, the public view of the Middle East might be considerably different.

Anyone who is interested in this subject might want to check out the related discussion taking place on p.4 of this thread.

Mandelstam, nobody, including me or Krugman, is painting the issue in such black-and-white terms, and I wish you’d lay off. He’s suggesting that the hawkish mass media in the US is dominating public perception to a far greater extent than I, or you, would think is the case.

Elvis: Since you ask me to I will “lay off,” but I have to admit I’m surprised you think I was ever laying on. More than anything I was trying to be funny about US boobs vs. Euro culture buffs: but also to trying to gauge whether your concern about “sheep” was to do with that kind of comparison. (After all, it is something one hears on the left from time to time.) What’s been coolest in American public perception has been, as you note, in spite of the media we get, by and large. For me this particular piece of writing spoke to that problem well; for you it exaggerated the dominating effect. Fair enough. All in all, there’s probably not much disagreement between us, but what there is or was I, at any rate, thought worth discussing. :slight_smile:

There are levels of sheepdom, certainly, and thanks for pointing that out. Krugman seemed to me to be asserting that public opinion isn’t just influenced but created by mass media, and that iimplication is just too broad.

As you state, I don’t think we disagree substantively. I think we’re done here.