Around the time my partner and I went to Sydney for vacation in early April, CNN Japan pulled American Morning from the evening lineup. At first I thought the absence of the program I love to hate was temporary. Besides, I had Australia to look forward to and then I was going to be in the U.S. for a month so I didn’t really care that much. I could get my American Morning fix in the actual morning and not in the evening the way I do in Tokyo.

Now that I’m back in Japan, I’ve learned that CNN Japan has changed its format almost entirely. An English journalist friend told me that it was a conscious decision to appeal to a more international audience. He claimed that BBC International was a lot more popular with non-Americans and that CNN Japan wanted to claim a larger share of this audience.

My friend is right about BBC being more popular with non-Americans in Japan and elsewhere. The U.S. is very unpopular abroad right now. Everyone knows that. OK, maybe not the hicks, hillbillies, inbreds and religious zealots back home, but they watch FOX News anyway. Incidentally, FOX News does not reach an international audience. Our allies in Europe and elsewhere think, rightfully so, that FOX News is some scary shit. My non-American friends ask me, “Don’t you know it’s propaganda?” I answer, “Hey, don’t look at me. I know it’s propaganda. Take your question up with Bubba in Texas and be sure to bring a loaded shotgun when you do.”

As an American living abroad, I like my U.S. focused news programs, especially in an important and entertaining election year. Besides, BBC International can be such a downer and it’s the only real alternative to CNN. The BBC didn’t see a tragedy, man-made or natural, it didn’t like. All you see is mutilated corpses in the dessert, starving black children with flies, screaming mothers in scarves and photos of Jude Law. It’s enough to make Julie Andrews take a flying leap off the Tower of London.

Thankfully, Lou Dobbs was pulled too. He really did go from likable crank to insufferable bastard in a few short months. I’m waiting for the day he looks into the camera and tells the viewing public of his plans to “blow his brains out” on the program live tomorrow like in the movie Network. “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Until then there is always more Max Foster.