Foreign Media in Rival Nations Capitalize on Brown and Garner Fallout
As social upheaval in the United States has intensified following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the world has been watching intently. Since the crisis began to unfold this past summer, foreign journalists covering the deaths, the verdicts, and the protests have helped propel the complex domestic issues that America faces into international focus. As a result, one largely unforeseen consequence for Americans has been brought to light—the use of the protests across the country for propaganda generated by America’s foreign rivals and enemies.
Listed below are titles and links to stories compiled from major news publications based in countries around the world, specifically, those that are frequently at odds with the United States on the international stage. These stories characterize public sentiment – or, more likely, the foreign government’s sentiment – toward the United States following the conclusion of the grand jury investigations into the Brown and Garner cases. Although the pieces range from op-eds to regular news stories, each helps to paint a picture of how foreign media, especially in America’s rival countries, are shaping public perception toward the United States in the aftermath of the Brown and Garner grand jury investigations.
China Daily: “Ferguson anger rooted in racial inequality”
Russia Today: “Ferguson grand jury decision divides America”
The Moscow Times: “Dolgov: U.S. Should Worry About Human Rights in Ferguson First”“
By taking an even cursory look at the articles above, it becomes immediately clear the degree to which America’s rivals have capitalized on the United State’s internal struggles. As the L.A. Times writes, “For countries that are often on the receiving end of human-rights lectures from Washington, the situation in Ferguson has presented an irresistible opportunity to turn the tables and accuse the U.S. of hypocrisy.” As people from Moscow to Shanghai read these stories, whatever image they may have had of America as a defender of freedom and equality becomes tarnished – and the image promoted by their governments of America as a hypocritical, capitalist, and imperialist country becomes reinforced.
The clashes in Ferguson and others throughout the country will continue to be used to make harmful generalizations about the United States. When people in Tehran read that “violence is ‘institutionalized’ in the United States” or when Cubans ask, "Is the Ku Klux Klan coming back with force?" America’s credibility as a peacekeeper and its status as a symbol of freedom throughout the world becomes laughable. Regardless of any which position Americans might hold regarding the controversies surrounding the deaths of Brown and Garner, for the sake of America’s reputation, peaceful protest and reform through policy, not violence, is the only way of regaining the world’s respect and demonstrating the true American way – or at least the best way to provide less propaganda fodder for America’s enemies.
- Konstantine Tettonis