This article investigates what the news says about inequity-driven civil wars and economic underdevelopment. Dewey argued that the lack of causal knowledge that distinguishes between symptoms and root causes would limit potential effective and transformative public action. Political scientists have demonstrated that increases in just the number of news stories about a foreign country in both US print and TV news in one year produced a clearly significant relationship to increases in commitments of US foreign aid the following year. This study of reporting on a 2003-2005 African crisis by ten news organizations over 26 months found few articles predominantly focused on causes against conditions on the ground or remedies. It raises questions about the conditions under which news organizations might be expected to provide causal knowledge and when such information can lead to more enlightened long term aid for national transformation.
Alozie, Emmanuel C. (2007) “‘What Did They Say?’ African Media Coverage of the First 100 Days of the Rwanda Crisis,” in Allan Thompson (ed.) The Media and the Rwanda Genocide, London: Pluto Press.
Awad, Marwa (2010) Darfur donors raise $841 mln, less than half target. Reuters Africa March 22, 2010. http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE62K05620100322
Baddaley, M. (2011) Civil War and Human Development: Impacts of Finance and Financial Infrastructure. February http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/dae/repec/cam/pdf/cwpe1127.pdf
BBC News (2005) “Q&A: Sudan’s Darfur Conflict,” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3496731.stm (accessed March 17, 2005).
Burkeman, Oliver (2003) “‘All the News That’s Fit to Print’ - or So We Thought,” Guardian, May 13, 2003, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/may/13/usa.pressandpublishing (accessed February 25, 2008).
Carruthers, Susan L. (2004) “Tribalism and Tribulation: Media Constructions of ‘African Savagery’ and ‘Western Humanitarianism’ in the 1990s,” in Stuart Allan and Barbie Zelizer (eds.) Reporting War, New York: Routledge.
Crocker, Chester A., Hampson, Fen Osler and Aall, Pamela (eds.) (2007) Leashing the Dogs of War, Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace.
Dewey, John (1927) The Public and Its Problems, New York: Holt.
Fine, Jon (2007) “These are Troubled Times,” BusinessWeek, April 23, 2007, http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_17/b4031030.htm (accessed December 1, 2008).
Hounshell, Blake (2011) “The end of the Al Jazeera decade?” Foreign Policy, September 20, 2011, http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/09/20/the_end_of_the_al_Jazeera_decade (accessed Sept 30, 2011).
Huang, Peizhao (2004) “Darfur Crisis, Sudan Government Sought to Reconcile,” People’s Daily, August 26, 2004, http://www.people.com.cn/GB/paper464/12788/1149482.html (accessed June 9, 2007).
Kuperman, Alan J. (2000) “How the Media Missed Rwandan Genocide,” International Press Institute Report Vol. 6, no. 1.
Lippmann, Walter (1922) Public Opinion, New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.
Mamdani, Mahmood (2009) Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics and the War on Terror, New York: Pantheon.
McCombs, Maxwell and Shaw, Donald L. (1972) “The Agenda-Setting Function of Mass Media,” PublicOpinion Quarterly Vol. 36, pp. 170-187.
Mody, Bella (2010) The Geopolitics of Representation in Foreign News: Explaining Darfur, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Price, Vincent and Czilli, Edward J. (1996) “Modeling Patterns of News Recognition and Recall,” Journal ofCommunication Vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 55-78.
Robins, Melinda B. (2003) “Lost Boys and the Promised Land: US Newspaper Coverage of Sudanese Refugees,” Journalism Vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 29-49.
Steeves, H. Leslie (1997) Gender Violence and the Press: The St. Kizito Story, Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.
United Nations Development Program (2005) Human Development Report 2005: International Cooperationat a Crossroads: Aid, Trade and Security in an Unequal World, New York: Oxford University Press.
Van Belle, Douglas A. and Rioux, Jean-Sebastein and Potter, David M. (2004) Media, Bureaucracies andForeign Aid: A Comparative Analysis of the US, UK, Canada, France and Japan, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Wilkins, Karin and Mody, Bella (2001) “Reshaping Development Communication: Developing Communication and Communicating Development,” Communication Theory Vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 385-396.
Xin, Jianqiang and Xu, Duo (2004) “Darfur Issue, What is Behind the Crisis?” People’s Daily, October 18, 2004, http://www.people.com.cn/GB/paper464/13175/1181661.html (accessed June 9, 2007).