The Burmese junta's brutal smack down of Buddhist monks and civilian protesters continues to headline American media outlets. But for a deeper, fuller picture of events and the central role of the country's religious men and women, you'll need to track down international sources.
For the particulars of government raids on the monasteries -- windows shattered by rubber bullets, religious objects in ruin, and monks bloodied and beaten -- check out the London Times. At the Guardian's site, you can watch a monk describe the attacks on his monastery in Rangoon and then read about the junta's steps to seal off other Buddhist enclaves. For a breaking news and a comprehensive context for the crisis as well as sidebars on everything from the impact of U.S. sanctions to the role of Buddhist monks in Burmese society, the BBC is the place to visit. Each of these sites links to protests on behalf of the monks in Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and Australia. There's a lot more going on with the story than our American papers of record would have you believe.
Today's take home lesson:
1. American news outlets underestimate religion's public dimension and skimps on coverage of international news
2. Since most religious communities are transnational, events of a (relatively) small group of Buddhist monks in Burma can stir protest worldwide.
American news outlets are lost: How to cover news and still reap double digit profits? As journalistic competitors/colleagues around the world demonstrate, cutting back on content is not the answer. In fact, it's the problem.