How non-Americans see our media coverage of the storm
When will we be able to see ourselves as others see us around the world? In a year that has seen the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, with entire towns of thousands of people being swept away in minutes; a famine that is killing thousands of people, particularly children, daily; and genuinely world-historic scenes of extraordinarily brave protesters willing to die for their principles across North Africa and the Middle East , the U.S. media is literally showing round the clock pictures of rain, trees blowing in strong wind, flooded storm drains, patches of minor debris, a few downed power lines, and, I kid you not, moved benches on the New Jersey boardwalk. Headlines blare the number of "fatalities" without telling us that every hurricane or major storm always, tragically, causes car and boat accidents, heart attacks, and trees falling on houses.
At times it almost seems like a caricature of disaster coverage, with swelling music, grim-faced broadcasters (all in bright rain jackets and baseball caps with the requisite network logos), and dramatic pictures sent in by viewers that turn out to be ... wait for it! ... a cracked telephone pole. Anderson Cooper, who after all made his name reporting live and honestly from New Orleans during Category 5 Katrina, at least looks uncomfortably aware of the ridiculousness of the situation and is beginning to point out that perhaps it's really not so bad?