20 August 2011

A Blitz for Blitzer

Every day when I get home from work I flip on the boob tube to catch the latest world disaster while I peruse our daily newspaper to learn about whatever local crisis we may be having. I noticed that Wolf Blitzer of CNN always signs off on "The Situation Room" with something like "For our North American viewers John King will follow and for our international viewers we switch you now tho CNN International in Hong Kong" and then in Mexico we are switched to CNN World Report in Hong Kong. He continuously leaves Mexico out of North America. I am taken aback at this so I checked out what geographers consider to be the limits of North America. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by South America, and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. North America does not end at the Panama Canal either. The continent is delimited on the southeast by most geographers at the Darién watershed along the Colombia-Panama border which means that all of Panama is within North America.

Why would a supposedly credible newsman make such an erroneous distinction? I decided to write to him and suggest that he might be mistaken. I went to the Wolf Blitzer contact page which can be accessed at http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form4.html?2 and lo and behold I found that the "contact us" page also divides the U.S. and Canada from the rest of the world. If you are writing from the U.S. or Canada there is a drop down box where you can click on your state or province. All other countries a lumped together in one long list. I found Mexico between a country called "Mayotte" that I never heard of and "Micronesia". It turns out that "Mayotte" is a tiny island belonging to France located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean between Mozambique and Madagascar. There is also a box to check to tell Wolf whether your comment is positive or negative. Hmmm, which category do you think he reads? You can also e-mail him directly at wolf@cnn.com or Twitter him at @wolfblitzercnn. Either way however, I don't think he will include Mexico within North America without enough people pointing out his error and questioning whether it is a deliberate slight or just a gap in his understanding of what constitutes North America. Hasn't he ever heard of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement that includes Mexico, Canada, and the United States?

Sometimes I wonder about these news guys and their hidden agendas. Let's put the "blitz" on Blitzer and restore Mexico to her rightful place on the globe.

¡¡¡ Viva México !!!
¡¡¡ Viva America!!!
¡¡¡ Viva Canada !!!

¡¡¡ Viva North America !!!



Marc Olson said...

For some reason, I suspect that the comment will fall on deaf ears, the reality of Mexico's connectedness to North America notwithstanding. People tend to have concepts about this sort of thing that are not always based upon geography, and they don't care to change.

Having been born and raised in Alaska, I am used to it. Often when I was younger, traveling in the "lower 48" I would get questions like, "What country is that?" "Is Alaska part of Canada?" and "What kind of money do you use?" There STILL are people who ignore the fact that it's a part of the U.S. Often when ordering items shipped from the US, we still are told that they don't ship "overseas," or "only to the continental US." Go figure.

Bob Mrotek said...

I work here in Mexico for a small Mexican company (with the permission of the government) and when something needs to be purchased from the United States the job falls to me. Sometimes when I call, the person on the other side gets all flustered and says something like "I don't think we can sell to Mexico" and I say "Sure you can, I will wire transfer the money in advance" or they will say "I don't speak Spanish" and I say "That's why I'm speaking to you in English". It really does get crazy. American people seem to be turned inward most of the time.

Marc Olson said...

Bob: You reminded me of the other typical question people would ask when they found out I was from Alaska, "Do they speak English there?"

I also was asked if I had to go through customs to get home.

I always found it amazing.

Don Cuevas said...

" Sometimes when I call, the person on the other side gets all flustered and says something like "I don't think we can sell to Mexico" and I say "Sure you can, I will wire transfer the money in advance" or they will say "I don't speak Spanish" and I say "That's why I'm speaking to you in English"."

¡Híjole, Bob! Que bobos.

Don Cuevas

Anonymous said...

well, then - for someone who thinks the earth is special just because he's in it, it's not so surprising to find he also wants to include meso-america in with his homeland (where he DOES NOT live) - i think that is called EGO and i don't have too much more time to waste with that, except to say, don't be a bad example of an 'american" while you live amongst our good neighbors and the fine people of Mexico like a colonizer of some sort - oh wait - you're already a bad example

Bob Mrotek said...

Welcome to my "special place" :)

norm said...

Those of us who live in the Americas are all Americans, borders and politics divide us.

Bob Mrotek said...

You are so right, Norm. The people in Mexico were calling themselves "Americanos" long before their neighbors to the North.

norm said...

I would erase the borders if I could, the politics will always be there. The joy of being human; we all see things a bit different from each other, hence our disagreements over policy.

Audi A4 Turbocharger said...

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Unknown said...

Oh Bob...that may just be something people in the United States, do not understand. They do not see beyond their own egocentric point of view. Everything for them in the United States is America and everything from this great nation is american, wether you like it or not.

This makes people think geographically when I ask:

Where is Central América?
It is not in central United States, it is in Central America.

Where is South América?
It is not in the south of the United States.

That seems to make people "see the United States in a location" geographically in América. It is so bothersome to hear everyday in every news channel their ignorance. People often ask me, when did you come to America? God!!! I was born in América!!! How ignorant can you be!

Only at the airports in the United States, it reads:

"U.S. Citizens" when going to customs.

En resúmen: The fact of the matter is, that the United States of America is the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA however, it does not mean that the rest of AMÉRICA is not AMÉRICA anymore. The now a days EUROPEAN UNION is Europe but, the rest of EUROPE is still EUROPE but, they don't belong to the Union. It is the same thing in the United States. América is from Alaska to Patagonia, one Continent and not three as in the United States is told.

¡¡¡Viva América!!! ¡¡¡Vivan los americanos!!!

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.