UK Media
Looking at the World Through American Eyes

Radio Newspapers Television

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In the UK much of the news and entertainment media has a tendency to view the world through American (i.e. USA) eyes. So much so that most people are not even aware that it is happening. The growing series of examples below show this. Some are trivial usage of American sporting or financial terms, others are distortions of reality and a few contain built-in assumptions.


When and Where Example Notes
Many media commentators "9/11" Outside of the USA dates are written dd/mm so 9/11 is the 9th of November. Only in the USA is 9/11 the 11th of September.
June 2003 : Channel 4 Newsreader "Meanwhile south of the border in Mexico". The UK has no border with Mexico.
January 2005 : BBC television news "The USA has given more money to the tsunami appeal than any other country apart from Japan". A neutral form would be something like "Japan has given the most money to the tsunami appeal with the USA in second place".
Frequently on news broadcasts "Relations between the USA and Iran have been strained since the hostage crisis (of 1979)". They have been strained since the USA (with UK help) removed the elected government of Iran in 1953.
Frequently on news broadcasts "The Vietnam War". Vietnam has fought several wars in recent years, against Japan (during World War II), France (1945 to 1954), the USA (1954 to 1975), Cambodia (1979) and China.

Since the UK has not been involved in any of them there is no reason for UK media to refer to a single one as the Vietnam War.

June 2006 : The Independent newspaper "The Civil War"
Headline for an artical about the civil war in the USA.
This should be "The American Civil War..." as the title implies the civil war in the newspaper's home country.
Many media commentators "It's time to step up to the plate."
"Three strikes and you're out."
"He is built like a quarterback."
These are terms related to USA sports not played in the UK.
Many media commentators "That's the 64 million dollar question."
"There are big bucks to be made."
The dollar (also known as a buck) is not the UK currency.
March 2007 : The Independent newspaper "Nine Civilians, including four children, were killed in Afghanistan when US planes dropped two one-tonne bombs on their mud home. At least eight civilians were killed by US Marines a day earlier."

It has been a disastrous two days for the Americans in Afghanistan."

It has been a disastrous two days for the dead Afghanis and their familes.
May 2009 : BBC Newsnight "President Obama is to meet the presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan." No country for the USA president, no names for the presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

By not saying "The US President, Barak Obama.." there is an unspoken assumption that this president is the UK's president.

August 2012 : Daily Mail "Australia risks harming American ties by refusing to base US air carrier." Not "USA risks Australia ties by asking for military facilities".

© 2007 KryssTal

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