By Joe Cannavo
I had several thoughts for this month’s editorial when suddenly I thought back to late July when solely by an email sent to me from the Italian Embassy in Washington did I learn at that time that Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was in the United States on an official state visit. This only proved to me once again my firm contention that the mainstream American media cares little or nothing about carrying important news from Italy or news of interest to Italian Americans in the American press and on the air.
Make no bones about it, if the state visit in question concerned Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Benjamin Netanyahu or Salman of Saudi Arabia, it would have been the lead story on the evening news or front page headlines in all the large metropolitan dailies. But, it’s just “unimportant Italy’s Prime Minister” is how the mainstream American press viewed it. This despite the fact that United States has had warm, friendly relations and diplomatic representation in the nation of Italy and its predecessor nation, the Kingdom of Sardinia, since 1840. Only twice were there any strained relations between the two nations, in 1891 the Italian government severed diplomatic relations and briefly contemplated war against the U.S. as a response to the unresolved case of the lynching of 11 Italians in New Orleans, Louisiana. Then there was a break in relations from 1941 to 1943, while Italy and the United States were at war. After World War II, Italy became a strong and active trans-Atlantic partner which, along with the United States, has sought to foster democratic ideals and international cooperation in areas of strife and civil conflict. Toward this end, the Italian government has cooperated with the United States in the formulation of defense, security, and peacekeeping policies. Under longstanding bilateral agreements fl owing from NATO membership, Italy hosts important U.S. military forces at Vicenza and Livorno’s army bases; Aviano’s air force base; and Sigonella, Gaeta, and Naples, home ports for the U.S. Navy Sixth Fleet. The United States has about 11,500 military personnel stationed in Italy, and Italy hosts the NATO Defense College in Rome. Italy is a leading partner in counterterrorism efforts, being a founding member of both the EU and NATO, and the U.S. and Italy cooperate in the United Nations, in various regional organizations, and bilaterally for peace, prosperity, and security. In addition to close governmental, economic and cultural ties, Italy is one of the most pro-American nations in the world, with 70 percent of Italians viewing the U.S. favorably while many Americans also hold a favorable view of Italy, with over 70 to 80 percent of Americans viewing Italy as a favorite country.
Yet, Italy’s leader arrives in Washington for a state visit and little or nothing is made of it in the media. Of course, I will give credit where credit is due. Mainstream American media is right there when an Italian-American mob boss is collared and brought to justice. Simply put, as I have preached and preached, and preached, again and again. The Italian-American community here in the Delaware Valley and across Italian-American enclaves around the country can only rely on publications like the Herald and broadcast media that promotes our values and heritage to keep us in the know and preserve our heritage for future generations, and it is also important to remember that these community services can only exist when the community supports them.