In a very important article published this week by Africa Check, New York Times & others STILL wrong on number of immigrants in S.Africa, they report how they asked the New York Times for proof of the figure of 5 million foreigners in South Africa they used in an article on xenophobic violence in April this year; and what they found when they investigated the evidence the New York Times cited.
Professor Loren Landau is quoted on why inflated immigrant numbers have staying power. “The first is confirmation bias. As people we best remember ‘facts’ and incidents that confirm what we believe. The second has to do with an odd and somewhat ironic alignment of interests. As things now stand, officials, business associations, and even some migrant associations and service providers benefit from these inflated numbers. Whether it is to justify militarising the border, explaining joblessness, or protecting businesses' interests, the more we feel threatened, the better.”
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