A recent survey of Australian journalists has come to the unsurprising conclusion that, as a class, journalists tend to lean to the left, politically. But if that's true, why are they so pro-American?

I don't mean 'pro-American' in the conventional sense of supporting US foreign policy goals. Given how many Australian journalists favour Labor and the Greens, we can assume that most of them are ambivalent about or outright hostile to US foreign and defence policies.

I'm talking about story selection and emphasis. How do journalists and editors justify the blanket coverage of the Oklahoma tornado (not to mention the saturation coverage of the Ohio kidnapping) compared to the scant attention they gave to the catastrophic building collapse in Bangladesh which killed over 1100 people?

And why is it that a terrorist attack in Boston that kills three people can dominate the news for days while a series of bombings in Iraq, which have thus far killed 279 people, gets relegated to the 'World' section on most Australian news websites?

I suspect there are two things going on. One is a cultural bias; Americans are more 'like us' so the media and the audience is more interested in what happens to Americans. The second is differences in the supply of news; Bangladesh and Iraq get less attention because there are fewer journalists working there to cover the story.

Photo by Flickr user Mark Gregory007.