According to Waking Times, “Time Magazine is considered a leader in national news, yet they consistently portray a dumbed-down, frivolous image of life in America while presenting an entirely different message to the rest of the world.”
Buzzfeed has an interesting article on the same topic. “There may be a reason why Americans don’t know very much about international news,” they state at the beginning of the article.
Just take a look at a few examples.
This one especially feels wrong.
Starting to get the picture?
“This is not an isolated incident, for perusing Time’s covers reveals countless examples of the publication tempting the world with critical events, ideas or figures, while dangling before the Americans the chance to indulge in trite self-absorption,” says Daily Kos.
Does this show a major difference in America’s interest versus the rest of the world’s? It certainly seems to be the case.
Why are Americans so out of the loop?
Well first, lets look at where it begins – the education system. From kindergarten to high school, kids are taught extensively about the United States of America and its history. Some schools require Global History and Geography, but the amount of time dedicated to learning about the entire rest of the globe in comparison to learning about our own country is shocking. Some states don’t even require Geography to graduate high school anymore.
National Geographic did a survey which suggests that young Americans are practically geographically illiterate. “Take Iraq, for example. Despite nearly constant news coverage since the war there began in 2003, 63 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 failed to correctly locate the country on a map of the Middle East.”
“Young Americans just don’t seem to have much interest in the world outside of the U.S.,” said David Rutherford, a specialist in geography education at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C.
This should be alarming.
In an article titled My Lazy American Students, author Kara Miller goes on to say that “too many American students simply lack the basics. In 2002, a National Geographic-Roper survey found that most 18- to 24-year-olds could not find Afghanistan, Iraq, or Japan on a map, ranking them behind counterparts in Sweden, Great Britain, Canada, Italy, Japan, France, and Germany. And in 2007 the American Institutes for Research reported that eighth graders in even our best-performing states – like Massachusetts – scored below peers in Singapore, South Korea, and Japan, while students in our worst-performing states – like Mississippi – were on par with eighth graders in Slovakia, Romania, and Russia.”
Why are we as an American population so disinterested and detached from the rest of the world? Maybe it’s because we loom off in the distance with an ocean between us and most of the world. Maybe it’s because we just don’t have the time. I say this meaning that Americans are bombarded daily by TV, video games, entertainment magazines, YouTube, social media, and reality TV – so much so that we are completely distracted from anything else of real worth. “Success is all about time management, and in a globalizing economy, Americans’ inability to stay focused and work hard could prove to be a serious problem,” says Miller. Technology and time efficiency have taken over our lives, distracting us from anything else. That’s one way we differ from the rest of the world – most countries aren’t bombarded by this amount and intensity of crap.
However, what American don’t realize or care to realize is this – global news and the global economy is completely relevant to us. In fact, it is in our best interest to pay more attention to it than to our Facebook notifications. We are affected by the rest of the globe almost daily. Look at the global economy to say the least; we are most definitely not obsolete from it. (The Great Depression actually began in Europe before effecting the U.S.)
Americans are too preoccupied and a bit selfish. As a whole, we are uneducated on the world around us and have succumbed to the mass of technology and entertainment we are surrounded with. Time Magazine is a prime example. It is time for us to realize this and take initiative to become more educated and aware of what is around us.
We are part of this earth. We might as well accept it, act like it, and become a functioning part of it. This begins with paying attention.
By: Elisabeth Bradley