Partisan media: From the US to SA

Rhoda Kadalie says Indy Media should be careful not to try and do the ANC's dirty work for them in the WCape

On Friday, emblazoned across the Cape Times billboard, was a headline - "Western Cape Racism" - so blatant in its intention. For the newspaper to tarnish the entire province as racist for a heinous act perpetrated by school kids against a fellow pupil, exposes their political agenda for what it is. To blame the entire province for an attack that might indeed be racially inspired, is to unmask the tactics the Independent Group mafia will increasingly use to turn the nation against the DA-run government in the Western Cape.

The more partisan this media stable becomes, the more the people of this province will undermine its political agendas. With Marius Fransman thoroughly discredited and the provincial ANC in ruins, Independent should be careful not to try and do the ANC's dirty work for them. Sooner or later it will backfire, as it has in every subsequent election since Nomaindia Mfeketo was Executive Mayor. To boot, the Brown Envelope scandal is still fresh in our minds.

News media across the world push partisan political agendas but sooner or later they get found out as happened in the USA recently. America's news anchor Brian Williams has been suspended for six months from NBC News because he lied about his experience as a war correspondent in Iraq in 2003. In William's own words:

"The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG..." "Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry."

"We came under fire by what appeared to be Iraqi farmers with RPG's and AK-47's. The Chinook helicopter flying in front of ours (from the 101st Airborne) took an RPG to the rear rotor, as all four of our low-flying Chinooks took fire."

His embellishments were so over the top that he was sure to be found out. But aware of his "left-wing media darling status", he fed his own lies until Fox news exposed him showing how each version of his story grew more and more preposterous that someone had to blow the whistle. And that someone was one of the crewmen of the Chinook helicopter.

Williams is now toast, but this is but one serious story of how the left-wing media in the USA has interfered with news reports that push their own and government's political agendas. Alternative news website, Breitbart, reports that: "Just a few months ago, NBC News Chief Medical Correspondent Nancy Snyderman was caught violating her Ebola quarantine. During the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman uproar NBC News was caught editing a 9-1-1 call to make Zimmerman look racist. During the 2012 presidential election Andrea Mitchell was caught fabricating a Mitt Romney gaffe."

The same happened with Scott Pelley's ‘phantasmagorical' story about the Newtown massacre in which he averred that the gunman, Adam Lanza, was the son of a resident teacher, Nancy. He apologized and admitted that he got the story wrong. Our media "houses are on fire" because we are "getting the big stories wrong" he confessed, arguing that the chase after who gets the first scoop is the reason for the tendency to embellish, warning that news-gathering should be inspired by a search for the truth rather than be driven by vanity and conceit. "If you are first, no one will ever remember; if you are wrong, no one will ever forget."

It reminds me about CNN's prevarications over revelations that Fareed Zakariah had plagiarized some of his stories and writings. They nevertheless retained him, effectively showing CNN's viewers the middle finger. They cannot afford to dump Zakariah, spin doctor-in-chief for the Obama administration. The assumption underlying much of the liberal media is that if you are on the right side of the Democratic Party, you cannot be wrong; the flipside of that assumption is that stories emanating from liberal media gurus need not be checked for their veracity.

That is why Brian Williams has only been found out now. Many of these dubious news anchors survive despite bringing their professions into disrepute. Is it because they have become powerful, rather than truthful? No longer guided by the sacred principle that "comment is free; facts sacred" - journalists these days should be disqualified from carrying the title: Fourth Estate.

Ben Shapiro, from Breitbart News, hits the nail on the head when he states so insightfully: "The mainstream media still wield outsized power, and when they decide on a narrative, they have the ability to drive it into the minds of hundreds of millions of Americans. But nobody trusts the mainstream media to fact-check themselves any longer. And that, in and of itself, is a massive, narrative-shaping change in American politics."

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