Open Letter to 60 Minutes Regarding Its Reporting on Africa

Scholars, writers, journalists and researchers write an open letter to 60 Minutes producer about the misrepresentation of Africa by the Tv program:

Dear Jeff Fager, Executive Producer of CBS 60 Minutes,

We, the undersigned, are writing to express our grave concern about the frequent and recurring misrepresentation of the African continent by 60 Minutes.

In a series of recent segments from the continent, 60 Minutes has managed, quite extraordinarily, to render people of black African ancestry voiceless and all but invisible.

Two of these segments were remarkably similar in their basic subject matter, featuring white people who have made it their mission to rescue African wildlife. In one case these were lions, and in another, apes. People of black African descent make no substantial appearance in either of these reports, and no sense whatsoever is given of the countries visited, South Africa and Gabon.

The third notable recent segment was a visit by your correspondent Lara Logan to Liberia 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. 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.


  • […] by Ndesanjo Macha · comments (0) Donate · Share this: twitter facebook reddit […]

  • tensing

    This is out of left field. Why would Mr. French feel compelled to write this letter now, months after most of these pieces he mentioned aired on television – 5 months in the case of the Ebola story. Seems curious. Also baseless. Logan, in particular, has covered more Africa stories in her career than French ever has. A simple online search of the work he did do from Africa — in the distant past — shows instances when French NEVER included Ebola victims in his reporting. Academics and NGO types only. A simple search of Logan online shows she has been honored for her Africa reporting by the National Association of Black Journalists. French is simply trying to use the name of Logan and 60 Minutes (I guess he decided Leslie Stahl and Clarissa Ward, who reported the other stories he’s so worked up about, weren’t flashy enough to mention?) to give a platform to his rants? Shame on Global Voices for posting this screed without any context or balance whatsoever.

  • Wickedashtray

    Its not a “misrepresentation”, what you are describing is that the broadcasts aren’t what YOU want.

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