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Global News

Reporting Conflicts and Cosmopolitanism


Alexa Robertson

Global News explores how media representation is conceived and enacted in a world of diversity and transborder flows. Among the ‘new media’ crowding the global mediascape are influential television outlets that promise viewers alternative vantage points to those of established Western broadcasters. The different worlds depicted by Al Jazeera English and Russia Today are compared with those of CNN International and BBC World. At a time when media organizations are slashing their budgets for international reporting, these channels represent a spectrum of financing solutions and relations to political power, being variously privately-, publicly-, or state-owned, backed by corporations, democratic states, authoritarian regimes, and ruling dynasties. Despite their differences, however, they have much in common. Their journalists espouse the universal values of professionalism and objectivity and speak to their global audiences in English. This book explores the different theoretical worlds of global media studies, takes a rare look at content, has a comparative perspective, and moves beyond the conflict frame that has dominated much of the literature in the field.


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Chapter 4. Brave New World


· 4 · brave new world ‘O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in’t.’ Miranda’s speech in The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, II ‘whenever the masses seized political power, then it was happiness rather than truth and beauty that mattered…. People still went on talking about truth and beauty as though they were the sovereign goods. Right up to the time of the Nine Years War. That made them change their tune all right. What’s the point of truth or beauty when anthrax bombs are popping all around you? People were ready to have even their appetites controlled then.’ Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932/1994: 208). Scholars who study global flows of people and ideas in terms of cosmopoli- tanism look at the evolving media landscape through a different ivory tower window than the writers in focus in Chapter 2, and see a space for fruit- ful encounters with different cultures and with people who are geographi- cally and experientially distant. Scholars of mediated cosmopolitanism are 62 global news: reporting conflicts and cosmopolitanism interested in the narrative techniques that can bring the Other closer, or position the viewer by his or her side, or in his or her place. They are more likely to wear a happy face, as Hannerz (2004) put it, than the metaphor- ically furrowed brows of scholars critical of media globalization, and like Miranda in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, draw attention to the beauty...

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