Chances are, most Global Envision readers don't rely on nightly TV newscasts to keep abreast of international developments. But what about the 70 percent of Americans who do? According to a recent network news review, people who get the majority of their international news from TV networks may be hearing only a fraction of the story.
According to the Tyndall Report, international news coverage dropped to a 21-year low in 2008. Out of the nearly 15,000 minutes that made up the nightly newscasts from the three major U.S. television news networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — only 1,900 minutes (13 percent) were dedicated to world news. Of the top 20 most-reported stories of the year, only three were international in scope: the Iraq war, the Beijing Olympics and the conflict in Afghanistan. International coverage in daily newspapers isn’t faring much better, with nearly two-thirds cutting their foreign coverage over the past three years.
Is the choice to pare down foreign reporting simply an effort to cut costs, or a reflection of a disinterested public? Whatever the reason, the consequences of being ill-informed could be pretty serious. As Mark Mellman writes in the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill, the public's disengagement leads to a lack of concern about international events. Less concern equals less accountability for our leaders. Given the world’s increasing interconnectedness, it seems to be particularly bad timing to begin to tune out.