America’s financial and economic wizards know the world is global but America’s mainstream lags behind. Money news programs such as Jim Kramer’s Mad Money demonstrate daily that stock markets are interdependent, currencies interlinked and commodity prices volatile with their dependence on human factors such as politics as well as on environmental events. Those variables affect business and trade but are not reflected in mainstream news coverage, which leaves the mainstream investor, small business owner and even ordinary job-seeker at a considerable disadvantage.
Most large city American newspapers have separate international and national coverage, as do the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. The tabloid New York Post, however, does not, nor does the Chicago Sun Times. Smaller city newspapers such as Indian’s Hammond Times carry little news about the world other than major coups, catastrophes and notices about locals in global combat zones.
As a result, the New York Post on Thursday, July 2, as an example, headlined with the recently deceased Michael Jackson, control of local schools and a Yankee baseball team win. Inside stories of international events covered the young French survivor of a plane crash off of the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean and an affair between an American state governor and an Argentine mistress. A coup in the Central American country of Honduras received six short paragraphs at the bottom of page 19. Editorials covered Afghanistan and Iran. Marketwatch in the Business section cited nine worldwide indexes, the majority European, while the Foreign Exchange Hotlist cited 17 majors among the world’s 200 countries.
In contrast, Google News that day reported also on Israel, North Korea, Iraq, Indian, Russia, Pakistan, the European Union through Sweden’s newly assumed presidency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, Sri Lanka, Croatia, an African Summit in Libya, France and the question of the Muslim women’s burqa, and finally, the former Soviet satellite country of Georgia.
Throughout the unprecedented global economic crisis of the late first decade of the twenty-first century in which a western industrialized country elected a first nonwhite leader to meet the challenge, the lack of “consumer confidence” was cited as the cause for the continued stagnation of the American economy. Yet in a global world where financial insiders trade on the basis of interdependence, can national “consumer confidence” exist without a broader mainstream context?
American consumers responsible for the robust purchase of products to stimulate the economy through imports, exports, corporate expansion and small business investments, have small chance of resuming their role without a basis for their “confidence” being restored following the crises of American financial institutions and the ensuing bailouts that began with the last conservative administration before the new liberal one went into effect. With trust in the “system” shaken to its core by mortgage defaults stemming from unregulated and unscrupulous banking practices as well as predator banking, in addition to an ill-founded war on the foreign country of Iraq, American consumers are in sore need of reassurance about America’s abilities in a global world, a situation that was a call for the mainstream media to adapt and provide the “medium” circulating pertinent and relevant “news” to the American people.
In a global world, “news” is no longer defined as “man bites dog” versus the other way around. In a world of 200 countries all interlinked, “news” equates with information that is novel, useful and conducive to exchange between little-known neighbors with whom to establish business arrangements for mutual benefit to stimulate growth.
News about the world abounds on the Web but America’s mainstream deserves better than needing to put extraordinary effort into being informed. The mentality of a world leader derives from the “matter of course” attitude with which informed citizens regard the world by knowing its source of information has a finger on the pulse of the world’s workings.