By Jessica Ciccone | @jblciccone
Almost two years ago my husband and I scoured the satellite TV in our Italian hotel room for an English-speaking channel (I know...bad tourist!) and came up with BBC World. Had the programming been less news and more Top Gear I would have been pleased. Instead we found ourselves smack in the middle of a British press corps field day over the highly contested U.K. election. As election coverage in the United States already reaches a fever pitch even before we hit the Republican National Convention, I thought it would be fun to take a look at how our coverage measures up to countries across the globe, and what they think, if at all, of our election.
We did a survey of our international friends and here is what we came up with. First, theU.S. is not alone when it comes to election coverage dominating the news. In Germany political coverage during an election year accounts for about 50% of the news; while in South Africa 75% of the reporting is dedicated to politics. I’d say we can count ourselves a little lucky in that regard.
I’ve heard it a thousand times. This news channel is super conservative or that newspaper is completely liberal; the later mostly from my Midwestern father. In countries like Australia publications are known to be for one party or the other. And in Brazil it depends on the outlet; TV being sensationalized while the newspaper remains neutral.
So I wonder, if I am growing tired of election coverage, what do they think of it abroad? I am not sure if I should be surprised, but most of the people we surveyed knew a great deal about our election. Though from Poland to Ireland, Switzerlandand across the globe there was really no consensus on what the outcome might be. Some think that Obama will be re-elected and others believe that the Republicans have a strong candidate in Romney.
What did I learn from our little experiment? First, we are definitely not alone in extreme election coverage. Second, I should probably start paying a little more attention; I don’t want my cousins Down Under knowing more than me after all. Happy Election Year!