Irresponsible Journalism: 60 Minutes- Congo’s Gold

In Africa, World News on December 29, 2009 at 2:52 am

I was really fortunate this semester to have an awesome GSI (graduate student instructor) TA my Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies class. Aside from being well versed in general world affairs, his specialty, his passion, is the Congo, more formally the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire. He’d been telling us throughout the course of the semester about a 60 Minutes special on Congo’s Gold he’d helped out with while in DRC this summer so when it finally aired this November we were all excited to see the end result. While most of us, ignorant of the true intricacies of the current Congolese state might positively grade the 60 Minutes special, Dan did not. In fact, days after it aired he detailed exactly what was wrong with the special in his article “DRC: Three Problems with the 60 Minutes Story on ‘Congo Gold'” on the African Arguments blog. He also shared another project he’d worked on, a more accurate BBC radio report on the same subject.

This issue of news stations misrepresenting the truth though is not the first of its kind (remember the the FOX-news-Sarah-Palin-book-signing-audience thing a while back?). Really who is to stop journalists and television producers and execs and all the people financially invested in our interest and viewer participation from doing, showing and saying anything to keep us tuned in? We’re not all specialists on the Congo, how are we supposed to know when the glowing box is telling us a lie- especially if they’ve got video footage and pictures to seemingly support them? We’ve trusted our reporters to relay the truth of our times to us, held them to an honor code we expect them to keep but the daunting truth is, they can break that code anytime and many of us just wont know. Makes me wonder how many years until our future looks like what George Orwell thought 1984 would look like.

(the above is just a preview of the 60 Minutes special, click here to see it in its 12 minute entirety).


  1. […] …why? why would they even report on this? is this really the point of the news??? they had noooothing more pressing to inform their viewers about?? and it’s interesting how the black female reporter so obviously tries to dissociate. and the amateur sketch…really? the whole report is a fiasco. i mean the rachetness of everyone looking for leprechauns is funny and the woman suspecting a crackhead- hilarious… until you realize the message this news station must be sending its viewers. sooo over all the misreporting and irresponsible journalism. […]

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