There have been various reactions to CNN’s sloppy, shoddy and lopsided documentary on some Nigerians in Houston. Some Nigerians were ebullient and pugnacious in their justification and defense of CNN, but why? Shouldn’t the default position of Nigerians be to defend Nigeria? Why the sort of auto-response to rally in support of CNN’s denigration and disparagement of Nigeria?
Nigerians must be clear that there are no reasons or justification for the denigration and disparagement that American and European media seem to specially reserve for Nigeria and Africa. We should realize, as Dr. Reuben Abati of The Guardian Newspapers has pointed out, that Western media never even pretend to be politically correct, when it comes to Nigerian and African issues.
Dr. Abati discussed CNN and added the BBC which had recently aired a live program “Africa Have Your Say” in which BBC asked listeners about the perception of Nigerians Dr. Abati then commented “For sure, there are criminals in other nationalities, but in the international media and most especially CNN it is often so easy and convenient to present Nigeria as the global headquarters of crime. Frank Nweke, the Minister of Information has since protested, noting that the CNN portraiture of Nigeria was tendentious and unfair.” If the CNN were to investigate Italians and Hispanics, its investigators would find a lot to put on air, except they may not consider it politically correct to do so.
Abati’s excellent article on this important matter of Nigeria’s image is a must read.
It should be clear to us all that Nigeria and Africa gets no respect, mostly or even solely because we are perceived as powerless and inconsequential. Might has always received respect; Even undeserved respect. Might is admired, feared and has always received respect, from slavery to colonialism and to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Africa will receive respect when we have nuclear power, when we have money and when outsiders perceive dire consequences and heavy price to pay for being politically incorrect about Nigeria and Africa
Presently, however, Nigeria and Africa are being told to get powerful, become a boxer or pugilist on the block or get rich, be mighty to get respect or get discounted. There is no logic or fairness in it. We are being told that we are poor people, deserving no respect.
Some Nigerians, in the face of all these, defend and justify CNN’s labeling and castigation of all Nigerians, with the impressions created by CNN on its documentary. But when will these same Nigerians, and in fact, when will all Nigerians defend Nigeria with equal passion with which some tend to always condemn and denounce anything Nigerian? Why will our best and brightest always seem to invest all their wondrous skills in defaming Nigeria, all in the name of criticism? How about defending Nigeria’s national interests with the same vigor?
Are these sort of reactions not just too naïve? Too simplistic and from some simpletons of Nigerian descent? Why would any Nigerian, at home or abroad, and contrary to all evidence, accept the lazy journalism as is now common in the American and European media? In matters concerning Nigeria or even all of Africa, the Western press get careless and sloppy.
CNN, BBC and most other media do not even attempt or pretend to aspire to political correctness. This was exemplified and exacerbated by the vexing CNN documentary on some Nigerian fraudsters in Houston.
Ninety percent of the cocaine that is supplied to the American cocaine consumers are produced in Colombia! This is not the result of guesswork; it is actually based on the empirical indisputable evidence of different agencies and departments of the United States of America.
Conversely, CNN and its Nigerian supporters possess no such empirical evidence against Nigerians! And yet, CNN aired a silly sensational documentary in which one of CNN interviewee asserted falsely, that 40% of Nigerians in the Houston area are into frauds. CNN knew and CNN ought to know, that such assertions are false.
A reasonable and diligent news organization would not have used or relied on such baseless percentage as alleged by the interviewee, but instead, CNN chose for its own malicious reasons to rely on a non-expert on Nigerians’ in Houston. CNN in depicting and portraying Nigerians in CNN’s repulsive and reprehensive documentary relied on an interviewee who is not a statistician or demographer and yet, a Nigerian abalidiegwu audaciously defended CNN and actually argued that 75% of Nigerian adults, at home and abroad, are fraudulent! nigeriavillagesquare.com/board/showthread.php?t=21025&page=2
Abalidiegwu moronically stated that “Nigerian communities abroad have an image and fraud problem. so long as you live in a culture that glorifies the end as justifying the means, Nigerians will continue to seek short cuts. this is the root of our problems. CNN IS RIGHT. MY OWN ESTIMATE IS THAT 75%% OF ADULT NIGERIANS ARE CRIMMINALS.”
I guess if it is on television and on CNN, it must be true (na oyinbo talk am)! abi?
It is completely outrageous that CNN denigrated Nigerians and Nigeria, as CNN chose. And it is with profound regret and sadness with which the rest of us Nigerians must view CNN and its Nigerians supporters. We must, with utmost disgust. It is an unacceptably offensive act and it epitomizes bad judgment on CNN’s part and on the part of its Nigerian defenders. It is distasteful to seek to justify what is clearly an extremely nauseating and repulsive documentary. It maligned Nigerians and Nigeria, in an extremely generalized manner. We must be clear about that.
It is an act of self immolation for any Nigerian to excuse those who denigrate Nigerians and Nigeria. CNN was talking about Nigeria period! And we should not pretend that we are not all being abused and maligned.
CNN used unverifiable assertions against Nigeria. CNN cannot defend its published falsehoods by hiding behind an Area Boy in Houston, a person who simply made unsupportable claims, spurious claims which CNN was too happy to repeat. CNN repeated such falsehoods publicly, CNN in its mission to portray Nigerians and Nigeria in a predetermined unsavory manner. Any lawyer will tell CNN that if you commit slander and or libel, you are liable; Furthermore, that your repeat of a slander or libel, even though already committed by someone else or by other entity, your liability is not removed, it might diminish damages, but it does not excuse your liability. You are independently liable, jointly and severally liable, in conjunction with the first offending publisher of the slander or libel.