It’s interesting to see first-hand just how biased mainstream media can be when you cross international borders. I spent the past week in Europe, and seeing the various spin applied to particular news stories was revealing.
Firstly, the American Congress has been making efforts lately to increase travel security. I received a news bulletin via CNN just before my trip informing me that the TSA was experimenting with increased security measures when boarding US-bound flights in Europe. 1
I understand the desire to improve security. Considering how much of our current airline security setup is pure theater, I’m not convinced added checkpoints – that check the exact same information – will make a difference.
The night before I left Europe, I had the chance to catch some late-night news about how the European Union sees the current security issue. Their solution is to suggest Americans (and Canadians) be required to receive visas from the countries they plan to visit before their trip.
Both parties are trying to solve the same issue – increased security for their citizens – but are going about it by pushing the burden of added security elsewhere. In the first case, added checkpoints (and staff) are required at European airports. In the second case, requiring visas cuts down on the number of travelers going through security at any given points as each traveler needs to acquire specific permission to travel.
I can’t say for sure which legislation was proposed first, but they both seem to be direct reactions to one another. Various countries have long held reactionary stances towards American immigration requirements – Americans are required to apply for a Brazilian visa for no reason other than Brazilians must apply to visit the US. Even if the two different pieces of legislation are unrelated, they still lead to a negative sum for international travelers.
International bodies continuously allege they’re working together to remove barriers to travel and trade. Seeing these two separates stories, reported with much the same tone (we’re right, the other guys are stupid), in the same week shows just how little we really are able to work together. It also shows a massive bias towards solutions derived in or affective citizens our respective regions.
- Sure enough, we had to go through not one but four checkpoints to board our flight in Germany. ↩