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Getting Africa Right
NYT Misses the Mark on Africa Coverage
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  • Blackbeard

    Is there some way this story could be reported so as to benefit the progressive cause? No? Then who cares.

  • Fat_Man

    Why would anyone think the NYTimes does a better job of reporting on anything else?

  • Greg Olsen

    This is one of the finest critiques of reporting from the region. It highlights all the challenges of Sub-Saharan Africa that are completely misunderstood by the readers of the NYT: politics dominated by competing patronage networks, societies divided by ethnic and religious differences, the challenges of geography, the inability of the government to assert control over territory (it hasn’t been clear for at least two decades that Congo-Brazzaville even is a country exercising sovereignty over its territory), the legacy of large public sectors in the economy, and the coup d’etat as the only way to transfer power when a government loses its popular legitimacy.

  • RedWell

    Well said, but I will say this: at least the NYT has people out there gathering news. Is anyone out there doing a better job? Why not? This commentary is only halfway to a better situation.

  • Pait

    I find the level of detail compatible with the amount of attention that a US newspaper reader has to spend on one country in Africa. That may not be the ideal state of affairs, but there are almost 200 countries in the world and people’s attention span is limited.

    Those who want or need deeper reports will have to do more research than just reading a general-interest daily. At the very least one can say that the piece didn’t mislead the reader, and probably alerted to a situation they may not have been aware of earlier on.

  • Lewis

    “The labels of ‘government’ and ‘opposition’ are not particularly helpful in a country where politics is characterized by ethnic and religious fault lines. The ‘government’ is better understood as an… cabal that harnesses the country’s oil and timber wealth to enrich supporters.”

    Behold the future of the United States following 12 years of an Obama-Clinton regime. A third world, non-functioning state divided by ethnic and religious tensions and tribal politics. Less the Mbochi’s of course.

  • ljgude

    I am familiar with the situation in Zimbabwe and although quite different in detail suffers from the same kind of superficial reporting. People would be generally aware of the name Mugabe and that the country suffered a hyper inflation, but have long forgotten that Mr. Mugabe was always a revolutionary client of the Chinese during his the war in then Rhodesia in the seventies and remains so. The Chinese still keep the country afloat and therefore control its rich natural resources through hopeless indebtedness. Of course because it is a communist country that is doing it, it can not be colonialism, but it is a policy that has the same effect. Maybe we should call it postcolonialism.

    • f1b0nacc1


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