Friday, August 31, 2007

MBP of the Week: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

There’s more than one way to misidentify a black person.

In an editorial on Monday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette made mention of “the outrages of Robert Mugabe’s ruinous [run] in Rwanda.”

The newspaper said: “His fellow dictators in Africa have done little but applaud their old comrade. It’s a common enough pattern: Vultures of a feather stick together.”

Yeah, maybe. But Robert Mugabe has nothing to do with Rwanda. He’s the president of Zimbabwe. (Hat-tip: Regret the Error.)

The Democrat-Gazette, in its correction yesterday, tried to play it off with a joke:

“The error was entirely our own and not that of our geography teacher in grade school.... The map of Africa has changed wildly since we had to draw it and memorize all the capitals back in class, which is no excuse for our mistake. Rather, our cartographic ignorance is one more strong argument for emphasizing geography, along with history, as a separate discipline in elementary school.”

Cute. But, of course, a map doesn’t have shit to do with knowing who’s president of which country.

Don’t feel too bad, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial writer. It happens to the best. On September 9, 1998, the New York Times published the following correction:

“Because of an editing error, an article yesterday about Congo peace talks in Zimbabwe misidentified President Robert Mugabe’s country. It is Zimbabwe, not Zambia.”


BLACKinUSA said...

Nice. Not sure if this eludes to a lack of journalistic skill for US reporters. As we know... "Our youth is learning."
Also, I am reporting Mr. Mugabe's 'stache to the fashion police.

JohnCD said...

That is a helluva bad 'stache. It brings to mind either Hitler or the Playmate of the Month.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ You funny, johncd.

And yeah, Black, that dizzy chick sure did cross my mind when I read about this mistake.

SudaneseReturnee said...

"..The map of Africa has changed wildly since we had to draw it and memorize all the capitals back in class..."

What a lame excuse. The map of Africa has not changed much in the past 60 years! When did this journalist go to school?

African dictators? How many dictators can this journalist name that are truly dictators? Africa is moving on, and the Western journalists should start looking at Africa differently.

Undercover Black Man said...

Welcome to my blog, Sudanese. Yeah, that journalist should have just apologized and moved on... instead of parading more of his simple-minded view of the world.

E-Boogie said...

All black people look the same. All African names sound the same. And Africa is really just one big country!

elephant said...

This reminds me of questions I would occasionally throw out to university art students. For instance, a few years ago I asked a class of mine to write down all the African nations they could recall.

The great majority couldn't name four.

Two students listed Brazil.

Lola Gets said...

lmao@"playmate of the month"


icanseeclearlynow said...

The map of Africa has changed wildly since we had to draw it and memorize all the capitals back in class,

what a dumb remark. you're right undercover, he should have left it with a simple apology.