’60 Minutes’ Blasted For ‘Anachronistic Style’ of Africa Coverage

Lisa de Moraes, Deadline, March 25, 2015

A group of academics and journalists is accusing 60 Minutes of turning black Africans into background extras in its recent segments from the continent.

60 Minutes has managed, quite extraordinarily, to render people of black African ancestry voiceless and all but invisible” in a series of recent segments, says a letter penned by Howard W. French and signed by more than 150 people that was emailed to 60 Minutes exec producer Jeff Fager and posted on the blog A Glimpse of the World. French, who spent most of his 23-year career at The New York Times as a foreign correspondent, now is an associate professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he has taught journalism and photography since 2008.

In the letter, the signers most notably dinged the CBS newsmagazine for a segment in which Lara Logan went to Liberia last year to cover the ebola epidemic in that country. “In that broadcast, Africans were reduced to the role of silent victims. They constituted what might be called a scenery of misery: people whose thoughts, experiences and actions were treated as if totally without interest,” the letter scolds. “Liberians were shown within easy speaking range of Logan, including some Liberians whom she spoke about, and yet not a single Liberian was quoted in any capacity” though Liberians not only died of ebola, many of them contributed to the fight against the disease, including doctors, nurses and other caregivers, some of whom died in the effort. “Despite this, the only people heard from on the air were white foreigners who had come to Liberia to contribute to the fight against the disease.”

{snip}

“Taken together, this anachronistic style of coverage reproduces, in condensed form, many of the worst habits of modern American journalism on the subject of Africa. To be clear, this means that Africa only warrants the public’s attention when there is a disaster or human tragedy on an immense scale, when Westerners can be elevated to the role of central characters, or when it is a matter of that perennial favorite, wildlife.”

Speaking of wildlife, the letter also smacked the newsmag for two segments it said were “remarkably similar . . . featuring white people who have made it their mission to rescue African wildlife. In one case, these were lions, and in other, apes. People of black African descent make no substantial appearances in either of these reports, and no sense whatsoever is given of the countries visited, South Africa and Gabon.”

In all these segments, the letter said, “Africans themselves are typically limited to the role of passive victims, or occasional brutal or corrupt villains and incompetents; they are not otherwise shown to have any agency or even the normal range of human thoughts and emotions. Such a skewed perspective not only disserves Africa, it also badly disserves the news viewing and news reading public.”

{snip}

Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • TomIron361

    I do like it when a bunch of screaming liberals like “60 mins.” gets called racist.

    • Oil Can Harry

      Irony alert: 60 Minutes spends years celebrating the Third World invasion of the West, then their correspondent Bob Simon- whom I actually liked- dies because his reckless limo driver was an Afghan Muslim whose license had been suspended nine times.

  • TruthBeTold

    Highlighting Whites helping blacks is now racist. OK, I added it to my list.

  • MrBiIIGoode .

    They should have interviewed the witchdoctors then?

    • Susan

      Good point!

  • render people of black African ancestry voiceless

    It’s about time. They’re usually so loud that they’ll blow out your V/U meters.

    • 60 Minutes should release not previously seen unedited footage of jive-talking, low-IQ, know-it-all, incoherent blacks that were “contributing” to the greater good.

  • Cindy

    60 Minutes is so far Left I can’t even watch it. And now they’re being accused of racism!
    Oh, I love when the Left eat the Left. So now what, affirmative action for how journalists cover a story?
    Do you think 60 min will get angry and fight back? Or will they double down on the pandering?
    It’s stories like this that give me hope Liberalism will fail.

    • Speedy Steve

      But it won’t fail quickly enough for my liking.

  • Whitetrashgang

    If you can believe it 90 percent of employment in Africa is based on Foreign Aid, how else should 60 minutes do things?

  • Chip Carver

    60 Minutes has always generated a lot of anti-white fiction in the past, I guess they should go whole hog like the SCI or Special Victims Unit or any medical drama and use dashing black actors to portray doctors and scientists and philanthropists. We know who the bad guys will be.

  • IstvanIN

    “Africans themselves are typically limited to the role of passive
    victims, or occasional brutal or corrupt villains and incompetents; they
    are not otherwise shown to have any agency or even the normal range of
    human thoughts and emotions.

    But that is truly all they are.

  • MekongDelta69

    I love when the left eats their own.

    • Alexandra1973

      Makes them get creative, doesn’t it? Their ideologies clash, and they have to come up with something creative to get them to line up.

      I think their standby goes something like “Straight White males (especially Christian) are to blame.”

  • JackKrak

    “…passive victims, or occasional brutal or corrupt villains and
    incompetents; they are not otherwise shown to have any agency or even
    the normal range of human thoughts and emotions.”

    With the exception of the “victim” part, it sounds about right to me.

    Did I miss something here?

    • TruthBeTold

      I believe the problem is that 60 Minutes showed them as they really are instead of showing them as the fantasy liberals desperately need to believe.

    • archer

      Africa is a “black hole” that has consumed billions upon billions of white tax money, all to no good purpose, the same could be said about Haiti, their own politicians are their worst enemies, in that respect we are closer than we think.

  • Isn’t Lara Logan the woman raped by the mob in Cairo? Isn’t she having serious psychological issues? In any case, the 60 Minutes folks need to try harder to provide us with culturally enriching televiewing experiences. I want them to show us this live and up close:

  • Valmont

    It seems like CBS could have included a segment with African gourmets demonstrating the proper way to prepare Ebola-infected rats and fruit bats.

  • InAFreeCountry

    They probably interviewed plenty of black Africans. They talk a lot, but SAY nothing.

  • mikey7777

    this is like when ,what was it ,Mempis was complaining that the show cops or 48 hrs cannot film there anymore because all they show is black crime.LMFAO! reality is reality wtf do you want lmfao! Blacks cause majority of crime and the spreading of disease .LOL

    • John Smith

      Are there even any whites in Memphrica?

  • rebelcelt

    What exactly is it that we can learn from Africans can teach us about about disease control?

    • How not to do it?….. !

    • John Smith

      They are great at spreading them, however.

  • Susan

    Always focusing on the negative, Howard French and his ilk are completely useless! Apparently they search for anything to whine about, any means to blame whites , or in this case totally invalidate the work of these incredibly brave & compassionate whites in this story. This is a video illustrating how benevolent and self-sacrificing these white people in Liberia are—caring for third world people with a horrible, extremely contagious, deadly disease in a harsh & hostile environment. Instead of noticing the good these white people are doing, French complains about white treatment of blacks. That’s what I would expect from an idiot liberal living in his ivory tower. Dear gawd. People such as French and his brain-dead cohorts that signed the letter are detestable, mentally unbalanced fools!

  • John Smith

    Could it be that negroes are just plain useless and the white folks are the ones who really did the heavy lifting toward stopping the epidemic?

  • texasoysterman

    I only disagree with your last point. I don’t think French gives a s*** about the African wildlife, anymore than the natives do. Bantu never care about animals.