Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Vancouver Sun Runs The Iranian Election On Page 16

Written from Vancouver, British Columbia

I've noticed this before: Once you get out of New York and Los Angeles, and away from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, good newspapering drops off.

This morning, Saturday, June 25, the Vancouver Sun ran the news of the victory in the Iranian runoff election of a fanatic in a fixed contest, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on Page 16. Yet of all the events taking place in the world this month, this crooked election may well have the most impact in world affairs.

Most newspapers can't afford to, or have no desire to, have a staff of foreign correspondents, and they allow the most significant developments to occur with scant comment.

I remember, when Nixon resigned as President in 1974, I happened to be in Panama City, Fla., the following week, staying with my in-laws. From the Panama City paper, you never would have known that the U.S. had just gone through an historic political crisis, the denouement of the Watergate Affair.

What effect does the paucity of decent newspapers have on American democracy? Maybe, many of these people are watching network television news and getting something of what happens that way. But I suspect much of the country never has the happiness or good sense to find out, in their own interest, in detail what is going on in the world around them.

My daughter, son-in-law and I have been spending several delightful days seeing friends from India who have emigrated to Canada and are establishing themselves here.

The head of the household, Nissim Samuel, tells me he doesn't read any newspaper at all, and why should he, if it means reading the Vancouver Sun?

Instead, Samuel goes to the Internet each morning to find out what's happening in the world. Yet, it's a chore to find out from the Internet what is happening in any detail. You have to look at a number of stories, and if you want to read the NYT or the LAT online, you have to register, which can be quite time consuming. And it may soon be quite expensive, if the present trend toward charging for these services intensifies.

One can't escape the impression that the Samuel household and millions like it are not as informed as they should be.

Newspapers are, I continue to believe, the best way of finding out, in detail, what is going on in the world. This bird in Iran, the latest leader to spring forth from the corrupt Muslim clerics that rule in that unfortunate country, could mean war or a nuclear crisis affecting the whole world. Yet here in Canada, they might not even find out they are in a crisis until it's too late.

3 Comments:

Blogger mitchrc said...

This may also have something to do with the Canadian worldview, which is hostile to anything these days that reinforces the administration's point of view in the Muslim world.

I've also discovered that Canadians can be shockingly uninformed. I recently met a group of Canadians while visiting family in Washington state. In an effort to make conversation, I offhandedly mentioned to them that I had read that Paul Martin has recently had quite a political scandal. Not one of them knew who Paul Martin (their own Prime Minister) was. These were average middle class Canadians! Could you imagine finding a group of four Americans and none of them knowing who George Bush was?

6/26/2005 12:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only dream about not knowing who George Bush is.

7/02/2005 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the same lines, I can pretty much say the same about most middle class Americans. All they might know is about their own country....ask them anything about what happens outside their own country and their knowledge is 0.
Also, for the most part their geographical knowledge is nil....if its not in the USA, it probably does not exist. I am a Canadian and my job involves speaking to people in the USA every day. Sometimes I wonder if they learn anything at all (besides how to be pompous and overbearing)in their schools.......

1/04/2006 3:18 PM  

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