Tuesday, July 27, 2010

News From Home

by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer
There are a variety of news sources on Okinawa that cater to the American community. Sometimes news consumers have good choices, sometimes they don't

News over the radio is generally a non-choice. The only American FM radio station on the island primarily uses Fox News (and occasionally Associated Press) to keep the public updated throughout the day. Fox News Radio is generally more digestible than the crazy crap that Fox tends to run on it television outlet, but, bottom line, it still is Fox.

Fox is the most pervasive news channel around the military installations, a fact of life here that tends to give Okinawans working in the American community an unobstructed view of our dark side.

Armed Forces Network (television) has some other options besides Fox. They support network programming, like the Today Show which airs live each night. AFN also presents serious news through the classy BBC World News.

(Interestingly, I have yet to come across MSNBC on the airwaves. I'm not sure that I can pull two years here without an occasional Rachel Maddow fix!)

The jewel of news for Americans on Okinawa, however, is a daily newspaper that is familiar to generations who have served or lived overseas: Stars and Stripes. Even though this publication has a strong military bent (that is, after all, its primary audience), it puts news out in a quasi-even-handed manner that is far more "fair and balanced" than anything ever contrived by Fox.

Today the Stars and Stripes ran two editorials on its opinion page. One was conservative from the Philadelphia Inquirer that focused on how liberals are big spenders and will never allow government to shrink. That, of course, is nonsense, pure and simple, considering the budget is bloated from excessive and continuous war spending that is the mother's milk of the right-wing. But, be that as it may...the other editorial was of a liberal perspective from a writer at the Fort Worth-Star Telegram who correctly pointed out that Republicans in Congress have no interest in governing, and their entire agenda is to obstruct the party in power.

Editorial cartoons, as well, cover the political spectrum, and the regular cartoons strips range from the old chestnut, Beetle Bailey, to the far edgier (and funnier) Doonesbury.

The news gets here, but one has to look for it. Those who just run around the base soaking up the background noise of the ubiquitous television sets are, for the most part, getting their world view from Fox. Careful news consumers, however, can find news that really is fair and balanced from a wide array of better sources.

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