[ExI] English-speaking Google News and Myanmar (Burma)

Eric Messick eric at m056832107.syzygy.com
Sun May 18 05:00:56 UTC 2008

>>>The point is that this horrific tragedy is barely in the 'normal'
>>>English-speaking media (well.. business as usual). At least the Google
>>>folks are giving it some weight at their news page.

Eric Messick:
>>Well, I don't know about the 'normal' media, but NPR has been all over
>>the story.

>Dear Eric, Thanks for pointing that out. I consider the NPR one of the
>few high quality English-speaking news sources in addition to the BBC and
>The Economist.

Same here, although I don't generally listen unless I'm driving

Just after I sent the above, I hopped in the car again.  I only caught
one segment of "All Things Considered", and I noticed that Myanmar had
been pushed out of the spotlight in favor of the Chinese earthquake.
Perhaps they had a segment on Myanmar in one of the other half hours,
I don't know.

Something else I found curious was the pattern of naming of the
country.  The typical report would go like this:

Reporter: ...in Myanmar, formerly (or sometimes "also") known as Burma ...

U.S. Official:  ... Burma ... [Never a mention of Myanmar]

Others:  [Mixtures of the two usages]

It's like U.S. politicians can't bring themselves to utter the name of
the country.  "We don't like the new government there, so we're going
to pretend they didn't change their name."  It just sounds childish to
me.  Reporters are forced to put this awkward a.k.a. on the front of
every story, to keep from confusing the poor listening public.


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