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Monday, September 12, 2005

what citizens of other countries may not realize

I've read about the shocked reactions of citizens of various foreign countries to the post-Katrina tragedies in New Orleans, Mississippi, etc. What they're seeing looks as if it belongs in a third world country, not in the modern, powerful United States.

I don't know enough about the media in other countries to really know what I'm talking about... but here goes anyway.

In some countries, the press is largely or entirely government-controlled. Disasters in those countries would be minimized, particularly if to show them in more detail would suggest failures in government's response. Citizens of those countries may assume that for these TV images to be broadcast, things must have fallen apart so much that government censorship can't function or can't keep up.

In Europe, it's possible that viewers don't realize how much of the mainstream U.S. media is intent on trashing the U.S. in general and anything conceivably related to the Bush administration in particular. They may thus lack the information to perceive and adjust for the media's emphasis on, and in some cases exaggeration of, the death toll, the chaos, the suffering, and its failure to cover the extent to which the relief effort was unprecedented in its scope and perhaps even in its successes.

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