February 2019 - The News · The News

The News – Week Four – World News

It’s been a really interesting week in world news, with hardly a hint of US news seeping through besides Cohen’s testimony and Kim and Trump’s meeting, that as we all know by now, didn’t end with any new deal (shocking). As you may remember, I spent the week reading Al Jazeera and BBC News to try to get a well rounded perspective of what’s happening globally.

Here are the way the two sites are laid out:

BBC is focused on world news, but obviously has a western tilt as it is a British organization. Their main menu items on the site focus on news, but there is no drop down menu from there, it just takes you straight to a home page of news that they have selected as relevant. From there you can find world news, US & Canada news and UK news with western news taking the forefront. World news gets broken down from there into region so if you want to find out anything that’s happening not in the UK, Australia, Canada or US you have a dig a bit.

Al Jazeera is laid out with a focus on the middle east because Qatar owns it so it was nice to read from that perspective. I got a lot of news from there that I wouldn’t normally read so that was really cool. Their menu page is laid out with a news tab and a drop down menu for choosing your world region, but it has an entire tab dedicated to Middle East news. They also have a trending tab, and it was really cool to see what was trending every day from their perspective.

The story that really dominated the global headlines this week was Venezuela. It took me three weeks to really get into this story since I was focused on American news for the first three weeks and they hardly mentioned it at all.

From Al Jazeera’s front page
From BBC’s front page

I have to say it was refreshing to get my head out of the U.S. news for a bit. That is, until Wednesday when across all world news sources Michael Cohen’s testimony to congress dominated the front page. I was really surprised that it ended up on Al Jazeera all day long with a live video stream to watch considering no other U.S. news was really mentioned on there all week long. I suppose any chance to make Trump look like a buffoon is alright news to them.

Besides that shit show, here were the biggest stories I saw this week and I’d love it if you all could reach out and let me know how many of these you heard about, if any. I have a feeling I wouldn’t have heard of most of these unless I was intentionally looking as specific regions:

  • Maduro shut down Venezuela’s border with Brazil
  • Japan’s Olympics Minister, Yoshitaka Sakurada, publicly apologized after arriving three minutes late to a parliamentary meeting on Thursday
  • Brexit: Irish government hopes no-deal plan ‘sits on shelf’
  • Bangladesh fire: Dhaka residents look for missing people as at least 70 were killed in a blaze that ripped through the residential area
  • Pakistan army: Will respond with ‘full force’ if India attacks, which they ended up doing later in the week with India conducting air strikes on parts of Pakistan. The warning came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan approved military response as tensions rose once again over the Kashmir conflict.
  • Political drama in Thailand as long-delayed election nears Constitutional Court to meet next week as Thai Raksa Chart faces ban over Princess Ubolratana nomination

In Africa: The Sengali and Nigerian elections are dominating the news. In Nigeria voting stations and counting centers were under attack and dozens were killed. Senegal’s president Sall has won again in his second term and Buhari has won again in Nigeria.

In the Middle East: Israel’s PM is facing corruption charges for what feels like the 20th time. That is the top news for BBC in this region, but all Al Jazeera is talking about is Indian-Pakistan clashing again.

In US & Canada: Trump meets with Kim in Hanoi and Michael Cohen testifies to congress.

Latin America: Dozen hurt along Venezuela and Brazil border.

Europe: All eyes on Brexit and what May will decide to do next now that her exit deal plans have been denied.

Asia Pacific: Voters on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa rejected the relocation of a controversial US military base elsewhere on the island, but Japan’s government said it would press ahead with the plan. Top concerns are of noise, military operations and crime. The citizens argue the region bears a disproportionate burden when it comes to hosting US military troops in the country.

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♪ And that’s the NUUUHHHHSSS ♪

Here are my three biggest takeaways from this news challenge:

  • Question everything
  • Ask who benefits from this article (WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO, WHAT BENEFIT DOES THE NEWS SOURCE HAVE IN TELLING THIS STORY, REMEMBER RAGE=VIEW COUNTS)
  • Look at multiple sources for the same story before drawing a conclusion
  • Never share an article after only reading the headline!!!!!

Check back in Monday for an update on my March challenge! We are going back to minimalism!

February 2019 - The News · The News

The News – Intro

Dry January is over for me and so it’s the perfect time to start drinking again and focus the month of February on the news media. I honestly can’t imagine doing this challenge completely sober so it’s great timing.

This challenge will change weekly and the goal will be to show that our knowledge of ‘what is happening’ in the world depends on what we are reading, who we are talking to and sometimes even where we live.

The first week will be spent with no news! That’s right. I’m taking January 31st-February 7th off from the news. I will be happily skipping the State of the Union this year. I will not seek the news on Reddit, Google, Facebook, BBC, Fox, MSNBC, CNN, local news, you name it, I’m not having it.

Week one will be a chance to cleanse the pallet. The one exception is I will be able to ask people around me what’s going on in the news if I desire. I will also be able to pick up the news just from listening to people around me talk about it. I’m hoping to show what someone who doesn’t pay attention to the news picks up as news worthy.

Week two (here’s where the drinking comes in) I’ll be only reading Fox News. I don’t have cable so I won’t have to WATCH fox news (thank baby Jesus), but I will be only getting my news and headlines from them. Then I’ll report to you what the news for the week is when I only got my news from Fox.

Then I’ll be moving on to CNN for week three. If you don’t think CNN has a bias then clearly you’ve been reading too much CNN. It’ll be interesting to see the contrast here.

Why is this so important to see things from all sides? Although bias is impossible to get rid of completely (heck I’ve been pretty bias this entire post so far), it’s still important that we look for it and learn how to identify it. Here’s an example of a news story told three different ways:

Via All Sides

Now I realize this challenge focuses solely on AMERICAN news, which is why for the last week (which will bump a bit into March due to the weird way February works) I’ll be reading Al Jazeera, which I think is a fairly balanced world focused news site, although by no means perfect being owned by the government of Qatar. I’ll do an expose on a few different countries for week four via BBC News because they have an excellent search option to narrow down news by world region, and I’ll let you know what the top story is in those countries. News happens in other parts of the world too my American friends!

BBC’s awesome world news menu, which gives a nice overview of news going on in each region of the world.

I’ll also be reading three books this month, one on on the left, one in the middle and one on the right of U.S. politics. They are called Listen Liberal by Thomas Frank, Republican Like Me by Ken Stern and other is called The Loudest Voice in the Room by Gabriel Sherman. Thomas Frank and Ken Stern books are both written by current or former liberals. Frank spends his book so far examining where the left has failed the working class and Stern spends his book getting out of his blue bubble and experiencing some GOP love. Gabriel Sherman’s book gives a deep look into Roger Ailes life and legacy as founder of Fox News.

So that’s the February challenge. No news has already started for me and I’ll be honest, I wanted to check the news several times already today. Help I’m dying.