Saturday, May 3, 2008

International news on television

It’s been refreshing to watch television news from sources other than the US’s major networks and cable sources. Even US cable news comes no where close to the international perspective seen daily here on Brazilian television. Back in the San Francisco television market it used to drive me crazy that items in the “International News” segment were essentially: the US in Europe, the US in the Middle East, the US in Africa, etc.

Take the passing of May 1st – International Worker’s Day, May Day, or Labor Day. While I did not have access to US television last Thursday my Google home page gathers news from CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, Reuters and “top stories” from any number of other sources. No real coverage of May Day. I’m guessing ABC, NBC and CBS did not offer reminders to the American public that May 1st is celebrated by workers around the world as the international celebration of the social and economic achievements of the labor movement. Just a guess.

I did hear that President Bush released a proclamation commemorating “Law Day”, the celebration President Eisenhower invented in 1958 to counterbalance international Labor Day celebrations that were seen to be too communist. (What?! Bush celebrating the rule of law?!)

Here (where Labor Day is a national holiday and most folks had a paid holiday) the midday and evening news were filled with coverage of celebrations/commemorations/and demonstrations around the world, including here in Brazil.

Less dramatically, on any given day here on the evening news we hear about developments and events in various countries around the world that are newsworthy for reasons related to their local populations – and not necessarily connected to Brazil’s interests or priorities.

Refreshing. And it makes for more interesting political cocktail party conversations (to the extent that I can sustain said conversations with my still limited Portuguese!)

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