Maybe it's just me, but I have a distinct impression that when the United States dispatches heavily armed warships in response to a confrontation with a hostile nation, it is a truly important news event.
The Times of London certainly thought so, as its Washington bureau reported yesterday:
A potential conflict was brewing last night in the South China Sea after President Obama dispatched heavily armed American destroyers to the scene of a naval standoff between the US and China at the weekend.
Mr Obama's decision to send an armed escort for US surveillance ships in the area follows the aggressive and co-ordinated manoeuvres of five Chinese boats on Sunday. They harassed and nearly collided with an unarmed American vessel.
A POTENTIAL conflict was looming in the South China Sea last night after President Barack Obama sent heavily armed destroyers to the scene of the naval standoff between the US and China at the weekend.
...and others ranging from Pravda to Beijing's Sina.com Web site, which even provided a photo depicting the incident that started the whole kerfuffle. Here at home, the president's dispatch of heavily armed warships into disputed waters of the South China Sea was covered by the Washington Post and mentioned on Fox News, which picked up the story from London's Times.
New outlets far and wide amply covered the initial confrontation and harassment of the unarmed research ship USNS Impeccable by Chinese vessels; but the dispatch of US destroyers to protect her and other US ships in the area is certainly an escalation of major importance.
As far as I've been able to determine, this serious action has been far more reported abroad than by our own news media, and the one that pretends to be "the paper of record," The New York Times, based on observation of the printed issues and searches in its site, has yet to mention one single word about the naval foray. Nor, for that matter, has the Los Angeles Times.
Why, you may well ask, do the citizens of New York and Los Angeles have to depend on foreign sources for news of this importance, rather than receiving it quickly and prominently from their major local sources? Why, indeed.