The Lowy Interpreter

Sinclaire Prowse, a Lowy Institute intern and post-graduate student with the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, writes:

There is definitely an uneven distortion towards the US in Australian international news coverage, but it is interesting to note that this isn't an issue in Australia alone. According to an interesting study, the US is the most covered country in the world.

Sam Roggeveen identifies cultural bias and differences in the supply of news as the two crucial factors as to why America receives the bulk of media attention in Australia. But there is third factor that warrants discussion, and that is trade. According to Hu, trade is the most influential predictor of news coverage in Australia and indeed for most countries in the world. This explains why the US and China are so heavily focused on by news professionals in Australia.

While it is clear that not every country can be covered every day by the media, it seems that if the Australian media covered other foreign countries as heavily as we cover America, Australians would have a far greater appreciation and sense of the rest of the world.

For example, a greater understanding of the world may have given Australian citizens a greater capacity to understand that Chechens and other Muslim immigrants from the former Soviet Union are not walking, talking symbols of violent crime. Sarah Kendzoir at al Jazeera makes this point in the Chechnyan case well, suggesting that the media creates a false image of people and their culture to the extent that 'there are no people in Chechnya, only symbols.'

This piece originally appeared at The Lowy Interpreter