Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

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md0
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Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby md0 » 2013-04-17, 22:15

I'd love to here your experiences and opinions with ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage in your culture. That's a niche topic but after the bombing in Boston, relevant.

It is the norm in Greece and Cyprus to focus on their connection to world news, even if there isn't any (eg Tsunami in west Japan — no Cypriots in the area).
This was the frontpage of a major newspaper on the 16th.
Image
Main piece: Boston: Cypriot reached finish line 3 minutes before the explosion!
Second piece: 2 dead and 100+ injured in Boston.

And I was like seriously? :shock:
And now the focus shifted on a surgeon that helped people with grave injures on the site. With titles like "Greek surgeon saved lives in Boston". And the article mentions that he's Greek more often than it mentions he's a doctor. See here for one. [GTranslated]

I found that really bad taste and I also think this short-sighted attitude and the utter disregard for other people explains why "Hellenism" has declined (good riddance to all nationalities btw).
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Johanna » 2013-04-17, 22:45

Same here...

Like the 2004 tsunami, in Swedish media it was painted as a much larger tragedy for Sweden (543 dead, about 1500 injured) than for Aceh (Indonesian province, about 130,000 dead, no idea how many injured). Not intentionally, but in practice.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Halfdan » 2013-04-17, 22:49

I'm sure every country does this to an extent.
To be fair, though, it's probably just because the news agency wants to publish what readers want to see/hear, thus retaining a larger audience.

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Johanna » 2013-04-17, 22:53

Halfdan wrote:I'm sure every country does this to an extent.
To be fair, though, it's probably just because the news agency wants to publish what readers want to see/hear, thus retaining a larger audience.

True. But they could have balanced it a bit better.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-04-17, 23:09

I got kind of annoyed at my friend yesterday for looking up information on whether any Canadians were killed in the Boston Marathon bombing. People died; who really gives a shit what arbitrary national designation they had?

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby MillMaths » 2013-04-17, 23:19

The British media do that all the time. When something terrible happens abroad, the first thing they ask is whether any Britons have been killed.

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby linguoboy » 2013-04-18, 0:14

You don't even have to cross an international border for this kind of nonsense. The day of the bombings, my hometown news site had the article "Stunned St. Louisans experienced Boston bombings firsthand". The next day it was "Local runners, race fans return to St. Louis scarred by Monday's bombing" and today "Police chief: No threats against St. Louis after Boston bombings". Everyone's flailing about to find a local angle, as if we're indifferent to the suffering of people if they couldn't've been someone who lived down the street.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Lur » 2013-04-18, 0:14

This is very widespread in Spanish news reporting and it annoys me a lot.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Sol Invictus » 2013-04-18, 0:47

Might I offer a diffrent perspective? Perhaps in some countries they make a bit of a overkill, here though we usually get "this and this.happened" first and then "oh, and about people from Latvia" sometimes followed by "a person from Latvia tells about their expierience". I think this is fine - first of all it lets people whose friends or family might be in affected country know, if they should worry and secondly it gives more realism to news - people care more about fellow countrymen, than somebody living on otherside of the world and first hand accounts of one person's expierience will always evoke more emotion than statistics on how many people have been killed

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Aurinĭa » 2013-04-18, 1:18

Yeah. When I was younger I wondered why the news would specifically mention whether or not there were Belgians among the casualties/…, and that's basically how my dad explained it to me. It still annoys me, but it's understandable why they do it, and as long as they don't just talk about the Belgian connections (if there were any), I've no problems with it. And I think it's not as bad in the media I follow as in some other countries/media.

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby JackFrost » 2013-04-18, 2:45

I did read three major French-language papers yesterday at the library and all of them mentioned a few Quebecois getting hurt in the bombing.

Oh, nothing about the Canadians. That should tell you how much they don't give a shit about the rest of the country.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Varislintu » 2013-04-18, 8:34

Sol Invictus wrote:Might I offer a diffrent perspective? Perhaps in some countries they make a bit of a overkill, here though we usually get "this and this.happened" first and then "oh, and about people from Latvia" sometimes followed by "a person from Latvia tells about their expierience". I think this is fine - first of all it lets people whose friends or family might be in affected country know, if they should worry and secondly it gives more realism to news - people care more about fellow countrymen, than somebody living on otherside of the world and first hand accounts of one person's expierience will always evoke more emotion than statistics on how many people have been killed


Yeah, I have to admit I also kind of understand why they do it. Actually, concerning printed media, I'd even go as far as saying they're filling their purpose. Because printed media is no longer in the business of breaking news, they're too slow for that. Everybody's already heard about the disaster from TV and the internet, and if the disaster is Western, what is shown and repeated is the disaster country's own media coverage. What nobody naturally speaks of in the US media is whether Finns were taking part in the Boston marathon, or what happened to them. That's the only information gap that local tabloids can cover and raise an interest in the consumers about.

I understand why you think it's in poor taste, though.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Lada » 2013-04-18, 19:23

The same happens here, but I don't see any reason to dislike it. It's all very natural to think about someone who is closer to you than about poor hungry African children who you see twice per year on TV. Even if these innocent victims are white people from a decent country they are still far way from nation X to be truly worried about. Noone can love the whole world.

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2013-04-19, 10:15

Lada wrote:The same happens here, but I don't see any reason to dislike it. It's all very natural to think about someone who is closer to you than about poor hungry African children who you see twice per year on TV. Even if these innocent victims are white people from a decent country they are still far way from nation X to be truly worried about. Noone can love the whole world.

I totally agree. It's just how feelings work, you know. In theory you can say: 'I love the whole world', but in practice you love your family most and you'll be shocked more when something happened in the village you grew up in or a place in a far country where you have had a nice holiday than when something happened in a country you have barely ever heard of or a country you have heard only negative things about. So people generally are more interested in the people from their own village/ province/ country than in people from another country/ part of the world/ totally different culture.

I actually like to read how this one Dutch person that was there has experienced it when something has happened. I don't feel the need to be intellectually annoyed by it.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Babelfish » 2013-04-19, 23:14

And there I (and not only I) thought Israeli media was awful in this regard... When it actually fits Sol Invictus' description, with the main title or article about the event in general, and the "Israeli connection" in subtitles or smaller articles. What's kinda funny about this is that I think Israelis are sure we're the only ones like that... I at least was quite sure until one day I encountered the main headline in a Russian site saying that Russians were killed and injured in a terrorist attack in Egypt. From what people write here it seems Israeli media is mild on that...

I still feel it could easily be in bad taste, of course people here who have relatives and friends where something happened would be worried (and again I feel Israel "where everyone knows everyone" tends to the extreme in that regard, but I'm not sure), and also it might well be simpler for an Israeli newspaper to get an Israeli to interview and provide a first-hand account than someone of any other nation. But beyond that, it would probably be exaggerated.
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Johanna » 2013-04-19, 23:35

Babelfish, I feel like Israel is going Nazi on Palestinians, except that instead of gas chambers there's a wall and all sorts of ways to make non-Jews less than equal citizens.

And no, I'm not against Jews in any way, it's just that the state of Israel is getting really right-wing :(

But if I express this, I will be seen as anti-Semitic :(
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Halfdan » 2013-04-19, 23:51

Johanna wrote:Babelfish, I feel like Israel is going Nazi on Palestinians, except that instead of gas chambers there's a wall and all sorts of ways to make non-Jews less than equal citizens.

And no, I'm not against Jews in any way, it's just that the state of Israel is getting really right-wing :(

But if I express this, I will be seen as anti-Semitic :(


That is probably the reason why they are getting away with it.

Plus the American connection...

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Babelfish » 2013-04-20, 0:06

Well, and I feel you're just citing hateful propaganda slogans without really paying attention, but I don't think this is the appropriate topic. What has this got to do with anything I wrote above?
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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby mōdgethanc » 2013-04-20, 0:10

Johanna wrote:Babelfish, I feel like Israel is going Nazi on Palestinians, except that instead of gas chambers there's a wall and all sorts of ways to make non-Jews less than equal citizens.

And no, I'm not against Jews in any way, it's just that the state of Israel is getting really right-wing :(

But if I express this, I will be seen as anti-Semitic :(
The usual analogy is Apartheid. Nazism seems a little extreme, doesn't it?

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Re: Ethnocentrism in foreign news coverage

Postby Johanna » 2013-04-20, 0:15

Babelfish, I know Palestinians from the West Bank who had to flee their homes because of Israel.

But like you said: propaganda, and it's all just a mess.

Also, all Israelis I know are pretty liberal, and don't go "all of Ancient Palestine is ours!"
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