Monday, October 10, 2005

Economist magazine blunders?

Quickly loosing credibility in my eyes, publishing unworthy and thoughtless articles.

To cite a few:
1. Brain drain – America focus
This article actually states that:

"Well-educated people in America are the least likely in the world
to emigrate"

This to me is like stating that hungry people are the most likely to eat; stating the bleeding obvious. Why on earth would educated Americans emigrate? It is those from less developed economies that do economic migration. Surely this is economics 101 (basic economics for the non-economics mind).

2. Brain drain – Africa focus (click here for my reaction), (other reactions)

3. Investigating the police (click here for my reaction)

And the most recent:
4. Illegal immigration - Decapitating the snakeheads (06/10/2005)

I found the above article imprudent. Turning to page 18 to read the article on illegal immigration and I see this picture next to it.

Keeping in mind that pictures speak a thousand words, it then subsequently becomes irrelevant what else follows in the way of column inches. The message - intentionally or otherwise - has been understood or misunderstood (as the case may be). Before people see/read the rest of the article (if they even bother to), they are first confronted with the title "illegal immigration" then the image (above).

Ignorance is never a defence and can on occasion be enjoyed as bliss but to print an article about illegal immigration and place next to it a photograph comprising entirely of people from one specific racial group can be said to be – in the least – imprudent, at the worst anybody’s guess. One thing for certain is that it does not improve racial relations. It has about as much benefit on racial relations as having majority black traffic wardens. People are generally abusive when they get a traffic ticket, but to combine a "moment of madness" from the recipient of the ticket with a black face issuing it and one can imagine the first insult that pops into the brain. It starts with the letter N.

I remember a recent time in London when the topic of illegal immigration and asylum became very real and was in the news around the clock. It was around the same time when ethnic minorities were being looked upon as the "illegal immigrants". A few British born Asian friends of mine were called immigrants by a group of individuals who felt well informed and vindicated. Why did this happen? To answer the question, you have to ask yourself, what is wrong with the picture that follows the title?

It does not account for the diversity of illegal immigration. It therefore begs the question, what then is its purpose on print? >

The irony of the situation is that I have avoided all the reckless newspapers that spew out the editors' propaganda/predispositions under the guise of "information for the masses". I instead turn to well written, supposedly well thought out literature for my news consumption. I then blame the average Joe’s limited but voluntary exposure to "skewed" journals for his/her ignorant view on life. But it then turns out that I have found articles in the "better of the bunch" that perpetuate the average Joe's ignorance.

Newspapers, media, etc have a responsibility. How they exercise that responsibility is an entirely different story. The image that follows the text creates an impression on the brain that associates those within the photograph with the broad issue of illegal immigration. It is therefore irrelevant whether or not in this particular case those in the image are actual illegal immigrants. What is relevant is that in capturing the constructs of the "broader" issue, the photograph misleading. Hence, it follows to ask, why is the photo misleading? Is it there by accident or was it intended to provide a visual representation of the issue - which makes it misleading.

So when people of colour (black, Asian, etc) are randomly labelled as illegal immigrants in their local pub, getting upset at the perpetrators is getting upset with the symptom of the problem, not the cause. One can only suppress a symptom but it will remain a problem until the cause has been dealt with.

See article: Immigration once again.


Blogger Afromusing said...

i always had a problem with the economist. Africa and the middle east get like 2 or 3 pages out of the whole magazine...always wondered about that. At least they have the emerging markets index. Good observations...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 11:21:00 pm  

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