Saturday, 10 January 2015

The CNN Second-League Guys

For the last couple of days with the Paris shooting episode....I've sat and watched a number of hours of news.  It's mostly BBC, France-24 (in English), Sky News and CNN.

I have to admit....the France-24 crowd did probably the best coverage of an ongoing event that I've seen in years.  They didn't twist it into some dynamic or epic story.  They simply reported facts, interviewed witnesses, and did a very balanced news piece....around the clock.

CNN?  Well...the epic low point occurred with Anderson Cooper and his junior partner doing a live piece, and there was some need to describe the black guy at the Jewish grocery who was terrorizing folks.  The description?  "An African-American".

There was this awkward pause of silence....then Anderson Cooper corrected the guy and just said.....he's African.....leaving off the hyphen-description that we are so used to.  It was one of those moments when you know you are watching CNN and expecting this type of gimmick news moment.

You see, in Europe....while there are Africans in France.....they are French, or you end up saying they are Nigerian-French, or Sudanese-French, or Ivory Coast-French.  To be honest.....you just normally say French.

Same way for some African guy in the Netherlands, or Austria or Germany.

The use of an entire continent for a description?  It'd be like addressing a guy with Irish heritage and just saying he's European-American.  It doesn't happen.

This gimmick slogan....identifying some guy as 'African-American'.....it only works in the US.  Most international journalists don't fall into this identification trap.

I would imagine that I ought to address myself more often as "Norman-English-American"....to show my roots going back to east England, but the real line goes back to 1169 when the Normans came over the Channel and invaded England.

In some ways.....I watch CNN because I'm waiting to see them make a screw-up.....like going to a NASCAR race and waiting for an accident to occur or some demonstration that the minor league team is playing.