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BBC World News vs. ABC World News

I chose to do a comparison of the North Korean nuclear missile crisis between ABC Online World News and BBC Online World News. I want to compare the North Korean nuclear missile crisis because I wanted to see what kinds of news coverage were out there pertaining to issues in Asia countries. From my experiences, I don’t think that there has been a lot of time allotment devoted to news concerning Asia. Many times it’s more concentrated on news in Europe or in the Middle East even before 9/11. What I wanted to get out of this was to see how different the articles from ABC News were from the ones from BBC News. What was the American perspective towards this issue and how does that differ from the British view. Do both news organizations do a good job in representing the world view?

Chronicle: articles that I read from ABC & BBC Online World News

BBC News
-North Korea Claims Nuclear Test (4 min)
-North Korea Raises Nuclear Stakes (3 min)
-North Abandons Korea Nuclear Pact (2 min)
-North Korea’s Nuclear Progress (4 min)
-Nuclear Team Heading to North Korea (2 min)
-US Worried By North Korea Nuclear Weapon (1 min)
-Alarm as North Korea Raises Nuclear Stakes (3 min)
-North Korea’s Plea for Attention (3 min)
-US 'regrets' North Korea nuclear threat (4 min)
-North Korea issues nuclear threat (3 min)
-North Korea's nuclear program (3 min)
-Nuclear 'progress' in North Korea (2 min)
-US fears over North Korea nuclear plans (3 min)
-US: nuclear deal with North Korea endangered (1 min)
-Seoul's North Korea nuclear reactor concerns (1 min)
-North Korea nuclear weapons threat (1 min)
-US confirms N Korea nuclear test (2 min)
-N Korea 'nuclear test' condemned (3 min)
-N Korea still short of nuclear goal (2 min)
-South Korea's anger over nuclear test (4 min)
-N Korea offers nuclear talks deal (1 min)
-N Korea to 'give up nuclear aims' (3 min)
-N Korea blast 'was not nuclear' (2 min)
-Fresh activity' at N Korea nuclear plant (1 min)
-US rejects N Korea nuclear offer (2 min)
-UN declares N Korea in nuclear breach (2 min)

ABC News
-U.S. Won't Accept N. Korean Nuke Status (3 min)
-S. Korea, Japan Pledge to Work with U.S. (3 min)
-N. Korea Berates Japan, Condemns U.S (3 min)
-North Korea Lashes Out at U.S., Japan (2 min)
-Iran Test-Fires 3 New Missiles in Gulf (3 min)
-Britons: Bush a danger to peace (2 min)
-N.Korea can put warhead on missile: experts (4 min)
-Analysis: N. Korea, U.S. Both Flexible (3 min)
-South Korea as Kim's ATM (2 min)
-S. Korea, China Weigh N. Korea Sanctions (4 min)
-South Korea Enforces Sanctions on North (4 min)
-General Says U.S. Could Beat N. Korea (2 min)
-Analysis: China Stance May Aid U.S. (5 min)
-North Korea May Be Backing Off Showdown (4 min)
-N.Korea's Kim says no further nuclear tests: report (3 min)
-China. U.S. urges North Korea to return to talks (3 min)
-China to Enforce U.N. Mandate Vs. N Korea (5 min)
-China Envoy Delivers Message to N. Korea (3)
-Japan Rules Out Nuclear Weapons (2 min)
-Rice Says U.S. Ready to Defend Japan (3 min)


The BBC is the popular acronym for the British Broadcasting Corporation, which was originally founded in 1922 and was then called the British Broadcasting Company. The company was granted a royal charter not long afterwards, and was turned into a public corporation run by a board of governors appointed by the Queen herself. BBC’s sole purpose is to listen to and to respond to its viewers and listeners. The charter also waived it from any direct government intervention. Today, it is the largest broadcast news gathering agency in the world and importantly it is widely known for it news programs and reporting.

The American Broadcasting Company or ABC was started in 1943. It was not until the 1960’s and 70’s did ABC really become successful. Many of its hit shows were Happy Days, The Brady Bunch, Betwitched, and soap operas like All My Children & General Hospital which are still showing today. In 1996 ABC was aquired by the Walt Disney Company and much effort was put into it so it can compete with the other networks. Despit all these efforts, ABC is still the second most watched network in the United States.

Analyze & Discuss

The BBC news website seems to be more open in terms of availability of offering world news. On their website they have the UK site and the international site. People are directly taken to the site that corresponds to where they are logging from or they can choose. They have many options to news from many specific countries and areas, and not just a cluster of news from around the world. Another important feature that they have is their news in 33 languages. Compare to BBC, ABC’s news website does have a world news page, but it’s less extensive and the news is only a cluster of news from around the world. The numbers of stories are also limited with only so many stories for each day. I don’t think that their intention was to appeal to the world, but just to the United States. Their claim to world news doesn’t make sense because only people literate in English can actually access the site. This may be due to the reasons behind who owns the network. ABC is probably that way because it is privately owned and operated while BBC is more autonomous because it operates as a public service broadcaster. As we’ve discussed in class, many of the TV networks in the US are owned and operated by the same organization. What we get to see is what they decide we should see. It’s more catered towards making money and winning the ratings than providing a broad perspective to the public. In Putnam’s chapter on the internet, he says that reading off articles and texts online does not give you the pleasure as if talking to a person. I agree with that because text does not give you facial expressions, which really tells you how someone feels about something. Reading an article will only give you one perspective and you don’t know what mood that person was in when writing it. He/she may be in a bad mood and wrote it totally different from if they were happy.

What I found interesting in my comparison was that the articles on BBC were more neutral. It had a broader general view from different sides. A common theme in all the BBC articles that I read was that the US was the main country going head to head with North Korea. There is no mention or any views coming from the British. The articles were strictly about tensions between the US and North Korea. Many times a South Korea, China, or Japan view was put in to even it out as I’ve mentioned above. Basically what I got out of these articles was that this is a US problem and that they are doing what they can to settle it. The articles does not put anybody down, although it’s ironic that one of the articles did a poll and more British thought that Bush was more of a threat than North Korea’s president. ABC’s articles read more like a US stance against North Korea. The tone was more like how North Korea should do as the US say because it’s the one needing the help. Since North Korea is one of the last remaining communist countries in the world, many of the articles talked about the US’s strategy in trying to or pressuring China, South Korea and Japan into forcing sanctions on North Korea. North Korea’s dictatorship has not been able to undergo the changes that Schaeffer talked about. There has not been a civilian democratic government and it will probably take a long to get one.