By Steve Kelman

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British floods there and here

I sent an email a few days ago to a number of friends in the United Kingdom, noting that one day last week the British floods were the lead story both on Good Morning America and the NBC Nightly News, pointing out that it is extremely rare for U.S. television news to give so much prominence to a non-U.S. story that does not involve Iraq, the Mideast, or terrorism.

I got back an e-mail from a British friend asking me what spin the U.S. media put on the flood story -- were they treating it as a story about global warming or one about government unpreparedness? (These questions obviously reflected how the story was being spun over in the U.K.)

Neither, I wrote back: They were treating it as a World War II Blitz story about how Brits take crisis calmly, stiff upper lip, all that stuff. Nobody in the U.K. was treating the story that way, my friend replied.

This is an interesting vignette about national stereotypes and how they affect how we perceive events.

BTW, for any new readers of this blog, please note that I generally try to post on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Posted by Steve Kelman on Jul 31, 2007 at 12:08 PM


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