Darfur and the Congo: Why the Media Disparity?
Darfur and the Congo are frequently contrasted as African crises that receive quite disparate attention from the U.S. and Europe. With a much lower death toll, why does Darfur get such a brighter spotlight? As was recently pointed out on this blog, media took some time to start covering Darfur; while events in Africa never get the U.S. corporate media attention that they deserve, Darfur has managed to garner regular coverage, yet Congo remains essentially invisible. In the past five years, CBS Evening News ran one single segment on the country. The Congo was only mentioned on Fox News Special Report during a brief period in 2005, when peacekeepers for the U.N., a perennial Fox villain, were accused of sexual abuse on duty there. And the Congo coverage viewers saw on CNN’s Anderson Cooper’s 360 more likely than not invoked endangered gorillas or Angelina Jolie.
In a new article for FAIR’s magazine, Extra!, I analyze U.S. media coverage of the two crises and the various factors that influence that coverage, landing ultimately on the primary consideration: U.S. political interests.
Julie Hollar is the managing editor of Extra!, the magazine of Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR).