Friday, January 26, 2007

News for parrots

I’ve often joked about Sky News Australia, the 24-hour news service carried on our pay-TV service. I call it “news for parrots” because it always focuses on Australians, even when they’re nowhere near the focus of the story.

This ethno-centrism reminded me of the Monty Python sketch in which ordinary news is presented as if parrots were the focus, as in “No parrots were involved in an accident on the M1 today…” Sky News is very similar.

When Australians are involved in some international sports event, they’ll report on how the Aussies are doing, ignoring all others, even if the Aussies are way behind. When the space shuttle had an Australian on board, the news said his name “and several others are due to blast off today…” as if the Aussie were the most important person on the mission. Same with the Aussie woman who married the crown prince of Denmark—you’d be forgiven for thinking she was the royal.

And then came the Oscar nominations. Sky News reported that Cate Blanchett had received a nomination (for Notes on a Scandal), as had the Aussie-made animated film Happy Feet. This one time they had reason to be “news for penguins”, at least.

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