Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Please be embarrassed

What does it take for international news to make the front pages of America's Daily Newspapers? Oh, go figure it out for yourself. (Hint: It helps to watch a lot of Fox News.)

Now. Quite a few papers aren't included in the snapshot above. Those would be the ones who said something on the order of "American acquitted." (The Austin fishwrap put it best: "Italian court clears U.S. woman in lurid slaying," in that "lurid slaying" is what our friends at the tabloids have been telling us all along.) They still put the story on the front, but at least they maintained a bit of a polite fiction: OMG one of Our Innocents is escaping the claws of furrin justice!

The papers shown above are in a different class. (Except for the Post, holding down the lower left corner, which really is a tabloid.) You lot -- the Strib, Buffalo, the R-J, Anchorage, Raleigh, Richmond, USAT, Charlotte, Tampa, Norfolk -- really? Amanda Knox is a headline name? At the top of the front?

That isn't nearly as embarrassing as it should be. The Local Anesthesia movement has been relentless in driving that pesky grownup news into hiding; exclusive, original content is the franchise, the argument goes, because readers can get tales of faraway places anywhere. The Knox story really gives the lie to that line of thinking. It's not the cause of news audiences' cluelessness toward how the outside world works, but it's a pretty clear example of how news organizations deliberately, happily encourage that cluelessness.

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