I saw a piece on 60 Minutes last night about the blood tainted gold from the Congo that reminded me of why I have such little regard for journalism.
The story: There’s gold and political instability in the Congo, which lead to heinous power struggles and gangster violence, rapes and other human rights violations. The culprits? It must be those darned gold dealers. Walmart and such. They don’t track the gold back to the source, so they buy (by some “best estimates” provided in the story, 1%) of their gold from Congo sources which fuels the bloody power struggles.
Typical journalism. Blame the end user. Here are some questions or data I would have provided if I were the reporter on this story:
1) What is the form of government in this country that allows such human rights abuses (that would be the killing and rapes) and power struggles for mineral rights to take place?
2) What is ineffective about Congo’s government compared with the governments of countries that apparently supply the other 99% of the world’s gold that doesn’t appear to be subject to such chaos?
3) Why do people stay in the Congo if it’s so bad? Why don’t they leave for a better a life?
4) How would a gold dealer be able to tell if gold came from the Congo or not? Do they simply take the gold seller’s word for it? Do you honestly think that would be an effective way to end the violence in the Congo? Even if gold could be traced to the source, you don’t think a black market would keep that gold flowing?