Watching America from afar is fun. Watching CNN international in Bangkok and staying updated via internet while spending days with students from a bunch of different countries is fascinating. A great perspective change. CNN in America covers politics. CNN International covers...news. It's a very nice change. Here is some of what else I have learned so far:
For one thing, America, let's not get too cocky about how cool we are. According to Reporters Without Borders rankings of countries by degree of press freedom, the USA ranks 47th out of 179 countries. (Why can't we be actually cool like Canada in tenth place?)
Some other notes I gathered in my travels in Bangkok:
--A young lady from Iran wants to know why American media focus on the Iranian president when the actual power in Iran resides in its religious leaders.
--Young people from Burma tell me that through the extraordinary work of Aung San Suu Kyi, the country is on the rise but still very much a work in progress. The Burmese media are sources of amusement, though not sources of facts.
--Some Canadian and British nationals say that socialized medicine is not perfect--but it works very well and they don't understand the American issues regarding health care reform.
--A charming young woman from Bhutan taught me two things: the country of Bhutan exists and it is has been ranked the 6th happiest country in the world. (United States is merely average among the happy countries of the world.)
Finally, why is Piers Morgan doing whatever he does? Intelligent debate about gun control is necessary. He is not capable of carrying such on such a debate or interview or apparently any other journalistic endeavor. His "questions"--and "questions" needs to be in quotes--seems to be rattling off statistics that he wants opponents of gun control to acknowledge. Piers, getting people to acknowledge a statistic is as useful as getting people to agree the flu makes you sick. Develop points of view, debate perspectives... oh, c'mon Piers, you have actually made me miss Larry King.
This is some of what I have observed in Thailand while watching America from afar. America is great. With some hard work by our journalists helping us understand our world a bit better, we can definitely be greater.