Tuesday, September 26, 2006
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Just a little of the old media bias
What does this distribution of cover stories imply about how Americans get their information about the world?
Hat tip: Passport's Carolyn O'Hara posted by Dan on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM
I'm more concerned about how non-americans are getting their information about the US. Obviously, Newsweek is willing to present one picture to Americans and another to non-americans.... but why should anyone assume that one version is more truthful than the other?posted by: rosignol on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Um... because multiple Afghani leaders say that thing are getting worse... or in other words, "Losing Afghanistan"posted by: David on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Yes maybe you should indeed be worried about how non Americans are getting their infromation about the US, since they get to read about the blunders the US made, which reinforces feelings of hate towards the US.
I don't think it's a matter of one version being truthful and another not; the "lead story" was changed (at least I hope: or was the Afghan story eliminated competely?). But in the US, the editors got together and chose the best cover for that week, having to weigh sales, seriousness of the topic, etc. And it could speak volumes or may be meaningless.
My own interpretation doesn't speak well for Americans: we run the world, are spending billions in Afghanistan, yet pictures of some celebrity and her kids are more newsworthy.
Maybe the American populace has lost interest in a far-away war and politicians should take note?posted by: St. James the Lesser on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Why are our foreign brothers and sisters being denied essential information about the career of rock photographer Annie Leibovitz?posted by: alkali on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Ever read The Onion's "Our Dumb Century?"
This reminds me of the page when World War II starts in Europe, every article on the page is about war (including "Belgium Hides"), except one conspicuous article titled "US Generals Enjoying 'Wizard of Oz' Movie"
As Taranto would say, Life Imitates the Onionposted by: Johnny K on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Maybe the American populace has lost interest in a far-away war and politicians should take note?
No. Even the critics of the Bush Administration remain interested in Iraq and Afghanistan, even if only as a source of rocks to hurl at the White House.
I would suggest that perhaps the American press corps has decided that being a 'war correspondent' is not quite as glamorous (or lucrative) as they had thought it would be.posted by: rosignol on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Like SJTL, I don't think it is intentional media bias so much as a reflection of the fact that a lot of NATO troops are getting killed in Afghanistan at present, whereas most Americans are more focused on Iraq. We get the CBC here in the PRV (People's Republic of Vermont) and Afghanistan is pretty much the lead news story for our Canadian neighbors every night because they've lost quite a few soldiers this year. We lose soldiers every day in Iraq so it is not such a big story for us, but it is for the Europeans and Canadians.
As for the US cover: well, I don't even know who the the hell this woman is or why she is more important than the revelation that the US is abandoning 800 years of constitutional practice by rescinding habeas corpus (a more important story than even Afghanistan or Iraq IMHO), but her life must be damned interesting.
posted by: SteveinVT on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
What SteveinVT said in his last paragraph. Killing thousands to no purpose in Iraq is expensive, in every sense. Abandoning constitutional practice is a whole different dimension. Glenn Greenwald understands this distinction.posted by: Harold on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Marketing seems to converge on the bland. Maximize sales by not offending clusters of potential customers. "Losing Afghanistan" is likely to rankle the right-leaning part of the American market; a light bio spread on the cover will sell more copies overall.
The converse is chilling: apparantly "Losing Afghanistan" is unlikely to rankle very many customers anywhere else. Given that everywhere else is closer to Afghanistan than is America, I think we have a problem---and it's not the editors of Newsweek.posted by: brent on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Newsweek? Are they still publishing? Ha has aside, this is the real issue (pun intended). This "cover-up" (oh, I can't stop-deal with it) was all over MSNBC, Fox, and other media outlets yesterday. So, the cynic in me says Newsweek pulled this stunt on purpose in order to create some buzz around their mag--which hardly anyone buys any more and NO ONE takes seriously (except Tom Peters for some reason).posted by: Useless Sam Grantr on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
how Americans get their information about the world?
Or "whether."posted by: Anderson on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
What's the demographic Newsweek targets in the US vs. foreign markets? I suspect substantially more down scale. I also suspect Newsweek charges a bundle to give these upscale overseas readers a peek into the US, just as the Economist does. And I bet the Economist makes a much better profit on the US version than the domestic, just as does Newsweek. There's probably a tipping point out there where the primary audience becomes the one overseas. Newsweak may have passed it.posted by: Mrs. Davis on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
There's probably a tipping point out there where the primary audience becomes the one overseas. Newsweak may have passed it.
Stateside, Newsweek seems to be on hand in every grocery store and convenience store (the Economist, not so much).
I suspect the idea here is to maximize sales in each market, and Newsweek is varying the cover/content accordingly.
However... this is not the first time Newsweek has varied the convers on various editions, and used images overseas that it would not use in the stateside editions. One of the more notorious examples is a Japanese cover from last year...posted by: rosignol on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
With the vast amount of information available to anyone with a computer today, it is absurd to argue that somehow Americans are being shielded from the facts overseas. What's more at play here is simple marketing - newsweek tailoring its product to what each market wants to hear. The concern should not be about people not having the news available - that is simply disappointment that one's preferred storyline not being believed - but rather that a major media outlet would provide different news to different markets based on its perceived view of those markets' political outlooks.posted by: roger rainey on 09.26.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
rosignol writes: "I would suggest that perhaps the American press corps has decided that being a 'war correspondent' is not quite as glamorous (or lucrative) as they had thought it would be."
Given that the magazine is still *doing* the Afghanistan story, it's not that there is a lack of war correspondents.
The issue is that the marketers at Newsweek decided that Americans, unlike the rest of the world, would be more likely to buy the magazine if the cover were dedicated to a fluff piece about a negligibly significant pop-culture photographer.
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