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My wife and I just returned from our eleventh trip to Europe. We often spend the holiday season with her parents who live on the Baltic coast of Poland. Because the only television programming in English are the 24-hour global news channels, such as BBC and CNN-International, I usually feel disconnected from the goings-on of daily American life.

But that's not always a bad thing. And this time, it was indeed quite a blessing. Each time I checked an American news website, I was rather shocked to see that the biggest news and opinion pieces were about the A&E reality TV program 'Duck Dynasty' and the skin color of Jesus and Santa Claus.

Really? This is what Americans were talking about while I was away?

Well, in case you missed them (which is likely, if you only watch American cable news), here are some incredibly important developments that happened in Europe over the holiday season:

- A major corruption scandal rocked U.S. ally Turkey, threatening the government of Prime Minister Erdogan.

- Serious anti-government protests (bordering on revolutionary) continued in Ukraine's capital, Kiev.

- The European Union's credit rating was downgraded. (I covered that story here.)

- Latvia adopted the euro on January 1st, becoming the 18th member of the Eurozone.

- Twin terrorist attacks hit Volgograd, a Russian city about 1,000 km from Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The likely culprits are Islamic separatists from the North Caucasus region.

Devoted readers of RealClearWorld are certainly familiar with these stories, but most Americans probably are not. What does it say about our society when the opinions of a duck hunter in Louisiana dominate our news for more than a week, while major global events go almost entirely unnoticed by the American media?

I think I might be afraid of the answer to that question.

(AP Photo)