Foreign News Perspectives and Internet Tracking

By Steve Byers

Like many of us, I’m fascinated with the various stories coming out of the death of Osama bin Laden. Unlike most, I suspect, I’m especially fascinated by foreign takes on the story — for example, the death is described as a “hit” and a “slaying” in the Asia Times, terms we’re unlikely to read here. Nor are we going to read much in American media like the column headed “U.S. Spins Web of Self-Deceit,” which ties Osama’s death, oil, banking and governmental lies— both in America and Pakistan — all together.

Similarly, looking at stories in the Pakistani or Indian press is instructive, in that they, too, take radically different slants. I also regularly check stories from media in Australia, Europe (especially Britain and Germany) and other localities as well as Al-Jeezra English (where you can find this excellent column by Richard N. Haasson “Beyond Osama bin Laden,” which sheds much light on the Middle East).

What makes this search fascinating to me is that we now have the abilities to view these media so easily via — and in real time. This is the upside of the new media — it can make us better informed.

On a related note — from the dark side of new media, in my view — as I was searching the site, suddenly there was a groupon for “The Best Deal in Milwaukee: Save 50% to 90% in Milwaukee” after I would “confirm your city: Milwaukee.”

Frankly, tracking software like this is scary, and the loss of privacy may ultimately kill the promise of the Internet.

Steve Byers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication.

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The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Marquette University or the Diederich College of Communication.

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