alexa Bad News From Haiti: U.S. Press Misses the Story
Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences

Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

Author(s): Dan Beeton

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pROTESTS IN HAITI OVER HIGH MOD PRICES have dominated U.S. media coverage of the country in recent months. While these reports have drawn international attention to an urgent situation, they have often lacked proper context. Haitik problems did not sud-denly arise, yet the media began paying atten-tion to them only after the food protests erupted in April, especially after six people were killed and the prime minister, Jacques-Edouard Alexis, was forced out of office.' If the IJ.S. media have failed to cover the sto-ry of political instability in Haiti with the depth it deserves, it is certainly not the first time. In fact, it is the latest episode in a pattern of U.S. reporting on Haiti that has given many of the most important stories only a cursory glance. To get an idea of how and why this happens, I interviewed several U.S. journalists who have reported from Haiti, some of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. This is how one reporter describes some edi-tors views on Haiti: -Everyone knows the place is a mess, so what are you going to tell me that's new? What goes on there does not affect people in the U.S." Such lack of editorial interest has led to a near total absence of coverage of some of the most shocking incidents of violence, including the killing of unarmed civilians by United Na-tions forces, the Haitian National Police (HNP), and death squads. The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Mi-nustah), which began its mission in June 2004. has been marred by scandals of killings, rape, and other violence by its troops almost since it began. As has been documented by human rights investigators and declassified U.S. gov-ernment documents, Minustah conducted a number of raids into Haiti's slums—ostensibly to target armed gangs—that have repeatedly left scores of unarmed civilians dead.' In a now infamous case, Minustah mounted an assault into Cite Soleil, Haiti's largest slum, on July 6, 2005. According to declassified cables sent that day from the U.S

This article was published in NACLA Report on the Americas and referenced in Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

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