Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Amidst it All, Genocide Continues

The Coalition for Darfur has an excellent post comparing what the media was focused on during the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and what they are focused on now as genocide continues in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Why do our media fail to significantly cover these atrocities? Is it too difficult? Does it not interest them? Do they think their audience is too superficially, preferring the Michael Jackson trial (now) or the OJ Simpson car chase (back in 1994)?

If journalism exists for any higher purpose than to entertain, then we have to ask, where are the stories on Darfur? Yes, they pop up in the The New York Times and Washington Post and other opinion pages from time to time. But last week when Senator Frist gave a wonderful and impassioned speech on our need to do more in Darfur, the major newspapers barely mentioned it and the news channels ignored it.

Journalism is a for-profit business, which is fine. But that does not absolve them of responsibility. Each of us should be doing something to stop the Darfur genocide. But journalists should be expected to do more. They are the gatekeepers and they can set the agenda.

And yet the media is ignoring Darfur as it ignored Rwanda. Where are the stories?


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