Media Coverage of the Mass Killings in Nigeria and New Zealand

Kevin Cain   -  

Very little coverage has been given to the continued killing of Christian Nigerians, while every major news agency has covered the shooting at the mosque in New Zealand.  Why is that?

Virtually no media coverage (as of yet) for the killing of black, tribal, Christian Nigerians, while the media has reported about the killing of mostly immigrant Muslims living in New Zealand while they were attending the prayers at the mosque.

Media chooses to cover those things that they believe their audience cares about, or that they care about more than other issues.  So what draws the media (and I’m certainly talking from a US perspective) to cover the New Zealand shooting and not the Nigerian killings?

Is it because the news is coming from a tribal area of Nigeria?  This is very possible.  It’s not that we don’t care, but it’s that we can’t relate.  What is life like in a tribal area of Nigeria? Do killings happen frequently? If it is “less civilized,” shouldn’t we expect this type of behavior? Our lack of media coverage, and therefore our understanding and caring, suffers because of our ignorance and disconnect between the average American and a tribal, Christian Nigerian.

But what about the descriptor “Christian”? Can there be a media bias against those of the Christian faith? Christianity certainly seems to be one of the religions (along with Judaism) that it is okay to disparage and to make the followers consistently look foolish.  It’s quite possible that there is an expectation that Christians will suffer because of their belief system.

Why more coverage about the shooting in New Zealand?  Virtually no one wants to hear about a group, who is meeting peacefully for prayer, being shot up simply because of who they are—mostly Muslim foreigners. That’s what happened in New Zealand.  The fact that they had gathered in a peaceful manner affects our sensibilities. We can see that more clearly than something that happens in a village setting.

We have immigrants living among us.  Those of us in the States, even the first nation peoples, had someone immigrate here to the US. We are a nation that historically has cared about the immigrant. We hate to hear them being wiped out by a random white supremist acting alone on NZ, and we don’t want that to happen here.

That is likely the difference.  We can relate to NZ and the shooting far better than we can the atrocities happening in Nigeria.  In the US, we don’t fear the Boko Haram.  We don’t believe the Boko Haram will do harm to us, or anyone we know.  However, we do fear a white supremist: one that may do harm to us, someone in our communities, or someone we love.

Because of this connection, we seek more input and news. We can relate.  However, as a Christian, we need to look beyond our current situation and surroundings. All people are created in God’s image. Though we can relate more to some, we should not ignore what is going on in other places in the world.