PULLMAN, WASH. (SatireWire.com) --
The profusion of international news available on the Internet has made it increasingly difficult for the average American to ignore the rest of the world, a trend researchers say threatens Americans' long, proud history of disregarding anything not about them.
"With all the foreign newspapers and multi-cultural sites, the Internet is making it almost impossible for the average American to remain uninformed and apathetic," said Samantha Lessborn of Washington State University, which conducted the survey. "Americans can still do it. But it now takes effort, whereas before it was as easy as turning off Tom Brokaw whenever he said 'In South Korea today...'"
According to survey participant Danny Grisham, a 22-year-old from Cheyenne, Wyoming, it's not just the plethora of international news on the Web that is irritating. "Look, I can get around the news. I just turn off Reuters headlines in MyYahoo," he said. "But even some of the search sites like Yahoo and Alta Vista are available in different languages. Like everybody in the world doesn't speak English. Yeah, right."
"I can see where it's important if we're, like, beating some country in the Olympics or bombing them or, ideally, both," Grisham added. "But if some Colombian drug lord sinks a ferry full of Israeli soldiers in North Latvoania or Serbo-Malaysia, or wherever, and Americans aren't involved, what has that got to do with me?"
Other respondents said they were appalled, not just by the availability of non-U.S. news, but by the way important U.S. news is reported by some of these foreign sites. "Yesterday, for instance, the St. Louis Rams beat the Atlanta Falcons, OK, and I go to the London Times site and it's not even there," said Chip Pernadge of Kansas City, Mo. "Jesus, no wonder those guys lost the war and had to give Hong Kong back to Canada."
Sensing a market opportunity, Net Nanny, makers of Net Nanny filtering software, announced this week it will introduce NetNarrow, an English-only product that automatically filters out content that appears to be international. Specifically, the software looks for world datelines and keywords indicative of irrelevant foreign stories, including "Shiite," "post-Apartheid," and "Bob Geldof."
Survey-taker Craig Barker of Brooklyn, New York, said he will be among the first to get NetNarrow. "On the Web, there are so many ways to get news from so many different places, I could really get some fresh insights into what's going on in other countries if I wanted to," he said.. "But I don't want to."
"You'd think these Internet people would know that," Barker added. "I mean, that's why the Internet is called America Online, right? It's supposed to be about America."
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