Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Covering Darfur

Nicholas Kristof addresses the media today. Specifically, he notes the media's failure to cover the ongoing genocide in Darfur. Consider the data he cites:

According to monitoring by the Tyndall Report, ABC News had a total of 18 minutes of the Darfur genocide in its nightly newscasts all last year--and that turns out to be a credit to Peter Jennings. NBC had only 5 minutes of coverage all last year, and CBS only 3 minutes--about a minute of coverage for every 100,000 deaths. In contrast, Martha Stewart received 130 minutes of coverage by the three networks.

After noting that Diane Sawyer traveled to Africa to interview Brad Pitt, Kristof writes, "If only Michael Jackson's trial had been held in Darfur. Last month, CNN, Fox News, NBC, MSNBC, ABC and CBS collectively ran 55 times as many stories about Michael Jackson as they ran about genocide in Darfur."

The television networks deserve the criticism that Kristof directs at them. But Americans who would rather see stories about Michael Jackson than about Darfur are equally to blame.