‘There Is Myopia in Western Media Covering the Refugee Crisis’

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Janine Jackson: In scale and complexity, the crisis of the world’s displaced—65.9 million people, according to the UN Refugee Agency—is difficult to grasp. The need for a public reckoning, a working through of a societal response to this unprecedented circumstance, is clear.

And there’s little doubt that a roomful of media producers would agree that the issue was newsworthy. Pressed, they might say something about how they wished they had more time to devote to such important fare. Except that there seems to be room for several stories saying, for example, there are no new developments on White House/Russia ties, but here’s a rehash of previous reports.

The serious reporting that does exist often presents refugees as the problem, rather than displacement and its drivers, leaving you to wonder how much media help, not just in the fight to ensure that people’s humanity is respected, whatever their status, but in the effort to understand the roots of this global phenomenon and address it in a humane way.

Vijay Prashad is professor of international studies at Trinity College in Connecticut. His most recent book is The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. He’s author of many others, including Arab Spring, Libyan Winter and The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South. His columns appear on AlterNet every Wednesday. He joins us now by phone. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Vijay Prashad.

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