Protests in Haiti over high food prices have dominated U.S. media coverage of the country in recent months. While these reports have drawn international attention to an urgent situation, they have often lacked proper context. Haiti’s problems did not suddenly arise, yet the media began paying attention to them only after the food protests erupted in April, especially after six people were killed and the prime minister, Jacques-Edouard Alexis, was forced out of office.
If the U.S. media have failed to cover the story of political instability in Haiti with the depth it deserves, it is certainly not the first time. In fact, it is the latest episode in a pattern of U.S. reporting on Haiti that has given many of the most important stories only a cursory glance. To get an idea of how and why this happens, I interviewed several U.S. journalists who have reported from Haiti, some of whom spoke on condition of anonymity.