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Week of 2.12.10

Caring About Congo

Getting more Americans to care about global crises—one man shows how.

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The Weekly Q
Even with the recent outpouring of support for earthquake victims in Haiti, Americans' attention span for global crises is usually very short. But is there a way to keep American audiences from tuning out important global issues of violence, poverty, and catastrophe far beyond their backyards?

This week, NOW talks with filmmaker Eric Metzgar about "Reporter," his documentary about the international reporting trips of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. In the film, Metzgar provides fascinating insight into how Kristof breaks through and gets us to think deeply about people and issues half a world away.

Related Links

Reporter -- The Film

The New York Times: Nicholas Kristof

The New York Times: Win a Trip with Nick Kristof

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Can the U.N. Keep the Peace?
NOW travels to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to witness the largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation.

Viewer Comments

Commenter: Valerie
This was yet another compelling episode of NOW. It seems, unfortunately, that "compassion fatigue" prevents many Americans from paying attention to and caring about devastating conflicts such as the one in Congo. The study showing that people experience far greater empathy for the plight of a single person than for two or more was fascinating.

In light of the much-needed quality journalism on this show, it's a shame that NOW has been canceled. Check out if you want to keep incisive public affairs programming alive on PBS!

Commenter: Rick Johnson
KERA in Dallas, which constantly preempts Now and changes the scheduled air time for the program, says Now will go off the air in April when Bill Moyers retires. First, what does his retirement have to do with Now, and second, is Now really going to cease production?

Commenter: Hadley Littell
Regarding the quote I inserted below from you guys, it needs to be understood that not all of us Americans have money to help others. I'm on disability with @ $13,000/yr. I did make four donations regarding Haiti though.... It is possible somehow, if people remember the "Golden Rule" to help neighbors and other countries' people with some type of support and understanding. I'm actually making a group of people with disabilities to get together once a week and aim to make sock dolls for the next year. This is for Haiti, but if it continues beyond me, hopefully for others places also.

Note: making sock dolls are two things:
1) Good for hand and eye coordination for those with challenges as such, and
2) Don't throw out those socks who have lost their mates! :} This can help the environmental waste/landfills a tad.

We, as per the journalist point of view, can get overloaded with bad situations tossed at us from the media. Recommendation: do stay in touch with your neighborhood, county, state, etc. Try and ignor all...... the advertisements based on sex, etc. Do though take some time to see what is going on in the rest of the world. Economically, in our hereditary (sp?), and to each his or her own, but we ALL are God's (Allah's, etc.) children.

The quote:
"With the recent outpouring of support for earthquake victims in Haiti, Americans' attention span for global crises is usually very short. But is there a way to keep American audiences from tuning out important global issues of violence, poverty, and catastrophe far beyond their backyards?"

Commenter: wendy
The younger generation of our time, are been consume by multi-billionaire products. Blinding their minds, emotions of what realy is important. Caring about others pain. I honestly enjoy your progams. I wish parents would take the time and watch programs like this with their children. Younger children are now becoming the target of corporate consuming skims. Maybe programs such as this can teach them to be less absorb in selfish behavior, and stop to think at what other people in different part of the world are suffering.

Commenter: Jacob Schmidt
I am not necessarily proud of saying this but, I for one, have actually stopped watching the news largely because of these type of news. It is a crazy World out there. Full of tragedy and misery. It is overwhelming indeed. There is nothing we can do about it. Donations will not help. If we send troops there, people will complain that we are intervening. I chose to stop listening to these type of news because we will never be able to stop the tragedies around the World. There is nothing that can be done. At least I feel less depressed now.

Commenter: Maureen

I want to thank you for giving us consistently powerful interviews and programs that show the depth of the human experience. Your programs appeal to the intelligence of inquisitive people, who in turn, can inform others.

Suggestion for future program:
The elephant in the room is women's oppression in the US. We are underrepresented in all authority areas of this democracy (govt, business and media) and overrepresented in sexual stereotyping. Women's suffering exists here and it is ignored and denied. It's as if we don't exist beyond men's gratification. This is debilitating to our collective consciousness and should be addressed in shows such as yours.

Commenter: Jamie
I only caught the last half of NOW's crisis in Congo tonight, and was absolutely blown away with the succinct way the director, Eric Metzgar, of "The Reporter", described the method in which the columnist, Nick Kristof (NY Times columnist), "operates"; along with the studies on the effect another country's plight or crisis, has on people of other country's (USA).
God Bless him and Nick, and I hope the film sails across the oceans and pricks the hearts and minds of the "powers that be" and/or others than will take the time to do their own search engine (Google, etc.) for additional information on their crisis, and how they can help.
Jamie Mathis
Branford, FL

Commenter: Dyrr Keusseyan
Thank you very much for the video about rape in the military. Real men take pride in being protective about woman. Men who rape woman, whether they are in the military or not, should receive a minimum of life in prison. Let's not wait for a female soldier to die before we take action.

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