Freedom of the press, a cornerstone of American democracy, is worthless if the news is inaccurate. But those who travel abroad hear perspectives about news that never surface in the U.S.
Consider three examples.
If we listen to the U.S. media, the Russian invasion of the Ukraine was an aggressive move. But Ukrainians paint a different picture. The Ukrainian parliament, in a nationalistic move, passed a law requiring official transactions in Ukrainian. Angry Russian language speakers in the Ukraine appealed for help to Russia. Putin responded. That back story changes what the Russian invasion means.
Another example. We hear the Islamic State is the greatest threat to America’s security. But people in the Middle East describe ISIS as several thousand untrained young guys riding around in pickup trucks with weapons the U.S. left in Iraq. One Omani remarked that “the U.S. military could probably wipe out all those guys in a weekend.” That statement raises questions.
Never miss a local story.
A third example. What happened to that Beijing-bound Malaysian airplane that disappeared in the Pacific? In Malaysia, conspiracy theorists believe that the CIA took over the airplane because it was carrying a top-secret U.S. chip, acquired when a drone was downed in Iran and the chip was purchased on the black market by the Chinese. The chip and the Chinese buyers were on board that plane.
My question: Is our media really giving us the whole truth about world events?
William J. Rothwell, State College