Sunday, April 21, 2002

When Here Sees There "The globalization of the media was supposed to knit the world together. The more information we receive about one another, the thinking went, the more international understanding will prevail. An injustice in Thailand will be instantly known and ultimately remedied by people in London or San Francisco. The father of worldwide television, Ted Turner, once said, ''My main concern is to be a benefit to the world, to build up a global communications system that helps humanity come together.'' These days we are living with the results -- a young man in Somalia watches the attack on the south tower live, while Americans can hear more, and sooner, about Kandahar or Ramallah than the county next to theirs.


But this technological togetherness has not created the human bonds that were promised. In some ways, global satellite TV and Internet access have actually made the world a less understanding, less tolerant place. What the media provide is superficial familiarity -- images without context, indignation without remedy. The problem isn't just the content of the media, but the fact that while images become international, people's lives remain parochial -- in the Arab world and everywhere else, including here."

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