Editorial: Don’t be Distracted – Media, not Roodt, are to Blame

South Africa’s left-wing media has done it again. It has managed to divert attention away from its own ethical bankruptcy onto a scapegoat individual. That individual – who, oddly enough, is always a white male – in the left-wing fanatical tradition, is now unemployed and...

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South Africa’s left-wing media has done it again. It has managed to divert attention away from its own ethical bankruptcy onto a scapegoat individual. That individual – who, oddly enough, is always a white male – in the left-wing fanatical tradition, is now unemployed and humiliated. But Marius Roodt, like Gareth Cliff and Chris Hart, has done nothing but stand up for the values of a free and liberal society. And he has been crucified for that.

Roodt was recently outed as the infamous ‘Shelley Garland’, a vociferous Huffington Post South Africa contributor who called for the disenfranchisement of white males. The Post’s inquisitors allegedly tracked him down by “tracing his email” and using “facial recognition” technology. The effort it expounded in this witch hunt clearly indicates that it was the identity of the blogger, rather than the vile content of the article, which concerned the Post most.

In a recent ‘expose’ by the Post, they posted a video of Roodt being caught off-guard (finishing a snack, awkwardly) by inquisitors Ferial Haffajee and Pieter du Toit. What follows is a cringeworthy video where blame for the entire episode is shifted onto Roodt, when he was merely the vehicle for exposing the intellectual vileness of South Africa’s social justice-inclined media.

Roodt claims that the article was aimed at testing the quality of South African journalism – a test which South African journalism failed. As was to be expected, the Post, which is known for shifting between tabloid swill and left-wing doctrine, published the article. After a strong media backlash, they embraced a red herring to distract readers from the real issue – not that Shelley Garland is a fake, but that the Post is willing to publish blatantly racist and nonfactual articles.

The video is painful to watch, as a man obviously not used to the camera is scolded by holier-than-thou fanatics in the same manner someone may scold a toddler. There is no attempt at compromise or understanding from the Post inquisition, only condemnation and vitriol in hushed tones.

The Post, having published its expose, did not at substantively own the fact that it published such drivel. Its initial half-hearted retraction of the article included a generic commitment to the ‘universal franchise’ without delving into the intellectual and ethical nefariousness of the modern feminist theory which underlies the article. Editor Verashni Pillay herself admitted, in no uncertain terms, that the article represented accepted ideas within modern feminism.

Pillay did venture an ‘apology’ in the immediate wake of Post’s expose, admitting that publishing the content might have been a mistake. While a commendable attempt, she did, however, write the following:

“Despite the pressure for me to recant my thoughts in my initial response I cannot, authentically, do that.

I still believe that despite the gains for equality and universal human rights in the last century, the fact is that white men still enjoy disproportionate power. And yes, I believe that a loss of oppressive power is necessary to create a truly level playing field.”

That she still sticks to her initial defence of the Garland piece is praiseworthy – consistency on the left is to be admired on the rare occasions it appears. What Pillay appears to not acknowledge, however, when she calls for “fewer accusations and growing suspicion of each other and eventual, authentic healing,” is that it is more often than not the media which causes division and tension between South Africans. This was all but confirmed in the recent media bias report by the Solidarity Research Institute.

SEE ALSO: Reject Racist News by Nicholas Woode-Smith

South Africa’s left-wing-inclined media persists in hiding behind the veil of objectivity and ethical journalism. Both Business Day and the Mail & Guardian have published editorials giving light to the underlying philosophy of editorial committees, yet have not attempted to redefine themselves as a consequence thereof.

Nothing in this RS editorial, of course, should be construed as calling upon the Huffington Post or other South African media outlets to ‘be objective’ or ‘be more thorough’ with fact-checking. In fact, we regard objectivity as nigh-impossible and defer to in-house editorial standards for the level of fact-checking. After all, RS does not as a general rule fact-check guest contributions – we believe firmly in giving authors the intellectual space to outline their position. If they dig their own grave in the process, so be it.

SEE ALSO: Editorial: Why we need a Rational Standard

Furthermore, anonymous or pseudonym contributors are a staple of journalism.

What matters is that the Post deemed the Garland piece appropriate to fit their editorial guidelines – taking on an article that echoes many of the thoughts the social justice left espouse daily. Only after sufficient condemnation did they apologise, and pretend they had bungled. Au contraire, they very much meant to publish such a piece and get behind its ideas.

What bothers us about this episode, is transparency and honesty. Nothing, as of 22:50 PM on 19 April 2017 on the Post’s website elucidates the fact that that publication takes an explicitly progressivist, social justice, Critical Theory, postmodernist, or any other related school of thought approach to journalism, when, in reality, they do. In contradistinction, the Rational Standard has made it clear, from the outset, that we take a distinctively libertarian, free market approach, and we restate this continuously in articles.

Had the Post been open about its blatantly-obvious bias, the Garland piece would not have been newsworthy in the slightest, because the lens through which we would have approached it would have been different. We would have known that an authoritarian left-wing argument was being made on a left-wing platform. Instead, an authoritarian left-wing argument was made on a platform masquerading as an objective outlet adhering to journalistic ethics, when, in fact, we know that any article even hinting at the disenfranchisement of anyone except white males, would have been binned by whatever sub-editor received it first.

In the video inquisition of Roodt, Ferial Haffajee attempts to lay the blame of the article firmly at his feet, as if he actually supported what he wrote. She is, of course, ignoring the fact that he wrote it to test the Post’s journalistic ethics – that they failed. Haffajee continues to defend Pillay’s defence of the fake Garland piece, when Haffajee herself condemned calls to disenfranchise anyone. While the latter is to be commended, the former highlights the fact that tracking Roodt down had nothing to do with author verification, but was a mere witch hunt to ensure the Post’s is able to divert attention away from what truly matters in this episode.

It is a travesty that Marius Roodt resigned and was publicly humiliated in a tale where he is the protagonist. He did what many rational, level-headed individualists around the world have wanted to do for years – show the left the toxicity and authoritarianism of their own philosophy, by using their own words and logic. He pulled it off, and should be commended. Even though Roodt claims not to be a libertarian, he is certainly now a worthy activist and proponent of journalistic transparency.

While the rest of the world is waking up to the horror and authoritarian nature of the social justice movement (unfortunately, often replacing it with equally authoritarian right-wing thought), South Africa sadly lags behind. Calls for ‘radical economic transformation’ and condemnation of bogeymen have placed us further down the road to serfdom, as the African National Congress grasps desperately to retain its relevance against an opposition that tends to just be a ‘lite’ version of itself.

South Africa does not have a healthy intellectual discourse and our lack of journalistic transparency does not help. Outlets such as the Post and others have not succeeded in encouraging healthy discourse – on the contrary, South African media has succeeded in drowning out rational voices in favour of hysteria. The Post, The Daily Vox, Daily Maverick, Mail & Guardian, etc. have as a substantial majority of contributors individuals who toe the social justice line. RS and a worryingly limited amount of other publications continue to pursue an explicitly classical liberal approach where the freedom and dignity of the individual is placed center-stage.

The Huffington Post South Africa, however, must be commended, as it has hereinto had a far cleaner, more respectable portfolio than its American counterpart, where articles of the nature of the Garland piece are a weekly occurrence. Pillay’s maturity in taking responsibility for the questionable publication of the content (author aside) is furthermore a tentative indication of the Post’s commitment to rectify some of the problems which led to this episode.

The Editor

In this article

Leave a Reply


  1. Vicky Reply

    Roodt should never have doxxed himself

  2. Vicky Reply

    Who wrote this? EXCELLENT article.

    1. Zaggeta Reply

      Joint effort by Martin and myself.

      1. Vicky Reply

        Congrats from the halls of /pol/

      2. RainerVoigt Reply

        Thanks… Great Article

      3. Samuel Clemens Reply

        Here for the first time. Will be back.

  3. Harald Sitta Reply

    Good comment. What happened to Roodt?

    1. germ Reply

      Roodt should sue.

    2. Peter Leyland Reply

      NAH – inappropriate use of company assets, violation of the company’s internet and communcations policy, stealing company time by doing private blooging during working hours , causing reputational damage to your employer etc, etc.

  4. 1Zoo1 Reply

    Roodt made one mistake, apologising.

    He should simply have told Ferial that her invading his office to humiliate him just verified his piece even more.

    As for his spineless boss, Bernstein, Roodt did exactly what the CDE advertises itself as. She is as disgraceful as Pillay and Ferial.

    1. Anthony Bingham Reply

      He should have simply told the Three Huffers to politely F…. off.

      1. Lawrence Dahl Reply

        “No comment,” said with or without a smile, would have sufficed. That video is indeed cringeworthy.

    2. Lawrence Dahl Reply

      Roodt made a couple of mistakes. Using the photograph of himself in drag as his author pic was truly idiotic (I know little about computers but even I know, from forensic shows on TV, about facial recognition software).

      His second big mistake was agreeing to be interviewed. He should have said, “No comment,” which was his right. If he was going to talk to anyone, he should have done so to an opposing publication (The Sunday Times, for example). That would have driven the Huffington Post even angrier (a rival, bigger and better publication getting the scoop) and would have been pretty great. Sadly, it did not work out that way.

      Good news is, the press ombudsman has come down pretty hard on Huffington Post.

    3. Brokenit Reply

      Pillay, Ferial and Bernstein must fall ! Disgraceful !

  5. 1Zoo1 Reply

    Also, the entire thing played out like a left-wing triumph.

    The white guy publicly humiliated and loses his job. Wonder if the SAHRC will now investigate him too…

  6. PrivateInstigator Reply

    Surely damaging the “good name” of your brand by publishing a horrible piece of piffle, and then damaging it further by an act of malicious spite will attract the attention of the brand custodians sitting in their ivory tower over the ocean? Ya think?

    1. Teresa Williams Reply

      No – HuffPost SA is a mirror of HuffPost USA – they *like* being that way.

      1. PrivateInstigator Reply

        You’re right, and they’ve got deep pockets, so they don’t care what their despised readers think. I’m optimistic though, in the long run their cheap clickbait stunts are going to hurt them, and Post will be toast.

  7. Spyti K Reply

    Personally, I am fast losing respect for any and all forms of “journalism” in the World, never mind South Africa and it all started when the accountants started calling the shots and forced media houses into the ratings wars by having them pander to the “entertainment needs” of specific target audiences.

    In South Africa, the situation is even worse with Sickball Surve’s “Independent Media,” the SABC and ANN7 being mere Government mouthpieces, while the majority of the rest lack the spine and/or testicular fortitude to buck the leftist trends. As a matter of fact, the only sources in my daily routine that offers anything resembling a balanced view of things are Rational Standard, amaBhungane and to a lesser extent some of the opinion pieces on Biznews and Politicsweb, while Media24 is fast losing any credibility in my mind, but this is not surprising if one looks at a rundown of its top brass.

    While enough has been said about Pillay’s sordid history with baiting and Haffajee’s one woman mission to hunt down fake news trolls “attacking” her and her band of SJW Fairies, little has been said about the role of Media24’s CEO Esmaré Weideman, who called the hoax in question “a sad day for journalism.”

    Of course, Ms Weideman wouldn’t know real journalism if it jumped up, slapped her in the face and then bit her right in the hiney. If one looks at her history, she actually has very little journalism experience and spent the majority of her career in various editorial positions for magazines like Fair Lady, Huisgenoot, You and Drum; not exactly shining examples of balanced, investigative and hard-hitting journalism, are they? This is also a woman who got herself conned out of R360k in 2013, was fined R75 000 in 2011 for running an unverified article on sexual abuses committed by an Afrikaans singer now living in New Zealand with his high jumping wife and so upset another Afrikaans singer and politician wannabee with her dishonesty that he threw his cup of tea in her face and then got banned from all “Afrikaans” concerts that Weideman’s bosses at Naspers are associated with.

    Ah, yes, Naspers that shining relic of the former Apartheid Government that boasts historical ties with directors and Editors like DF Malan, HF Verwoerd and PW Botha. I’m sure they would not do or say anything to pander to the whims and will of the leftist Government.

    What a sham it all is!

    1. Lawrence Dahl Reply

      She worked for Drum? That’s actually pretty funny. The son of the guy who founded Drum was the artist (Beezy Bailey) who won a grant after pretending to be a black woman. You’ll remember it was a big controversy in the early post-apartheid years. And now Esmare is in trouble because of another white guy pretending to be a lady…

      1. The Passing Show Reply

        Yes, nobody seems to give Jim Bailey much credit these days nor to his father who started the Abe Bailey trust.
        But that’s a story for another day.
        Beezy Bailey also, to the best of my recollection, submitted some paintings under a nom de plume of a black person.
        At the competition none of the paintings carrying his own signature won an award but lo and behold some of those with the nom de plume signature did.

        1. germ Reply

          There have been other notable satires one in SA. The details elude me but it concerns a writer who presented the poetry of an unknown rural poet at a conference. Does anyone have the details? It was some years ago. Then there was the physicist Sokal who debunked the whole academic postmodern BS with a “serious” piece published in their foremost journal that was totally meaningless. Google it and enjoy.

        2. germ Reply

          There is also a wonderful list of hoaxes on this site:

          Roodt should have waited until it was published and commented on by Pillay then called it out himself.

  8. Teresa Williams Reply

    In the term “social justice movement”, the words “social justice” should, in my opinion, always be in inverted commas (as should the word “transformation”, in many SA articles). Social justice, as such, is indubitably a good thing. Who could convincingly argue that society *should* be unjust? But the “social justice movement” has turned into a nightmare. It’s the echo chamber effect that does it . . . like sticks with like, and becomes steadily more and more extreme.

  9. Brokenit Reply

    HuffPo SA does not have a Disqus comments section so I don’t read it at all. I hate censorship by eliminating the comments section or by moderation of comments. I stopped reading all news outlets that remove their comments sections.

  10. jayceevanrooyen Reply

    Roodt did journalism in SA a favour. He added to the increasing realization among readers that SA’s leftist news media are, as this article puts it, ethically bankrupt. This media have been enjoying an open playing field where they can dictate the rules; however this “criminal” approach to believe that they have a free hand to force their distorted reporting down everybody’s throat, is fast coming to an end. They’ve been given enough rope over a long time and, fortunately, the old adage comes true: they’re busy hanging themselves. Sorry Roodt had to lose his job in the process.

  11. facts Reply

    Lord Charles Somerset, famously denigrated by John Fairbairn who is ignobly lauded as the ‘Father of the Free Press in South Africa’ bearing in mind the poor example of a newspaper in Calcutta resisted the many applications by Tommy Pringle, crippled in mind and body, and John Fairbairn, crippled mind, to institute a newspaper in the Cape Colony because so maintained Somerset they did not understand the principle of ‘audi alterem partem’.

    Fairbairn prevailed and the S A Commercial Advertiser spent it’s life denigrating the Settlers of 1820.

    ‘Moral Bob’ Godlonton responded with a defence of the Settlers and was succeeding when the slaves in Jamaica repeated Juanasberg, Woburn and Auckland and Governor Eyre re-acted positively, and promptly.

    Thomas Carlyle, James Anthony Froude and Charles Kingsley came to the defence of Governor Eyre and the campaign was turning the tide in favour of Eyre and the Settlers of 1820 when W E Gladstone was diverted from conversations with the fallen women of Chelsea to condemn Charles Stuart Parnell’ liaison with Kitty O’Shea.

    Lord Salisbury led by the dissolute Randolph Churchill began bellowing about “Ulster will fight; Ulster is right” and began protecting those the British Government had planted in North East ireland in 1621. Because no one could coin a similar phrase about those the British Government had planted in the North east Cape Colony in 1821 these poor folk were left to the tender mercies of those who killed twins at birth, preferred a smelling out ceremony to a criminal trial with recognized procedures, preferred to use African potatoes and garlic as preventative measures against syndromes.

    Of course all this was set out in the Wayzgoose in the 1920’s but the leftwing Bloomsburyites led by Virginia Woolf and the other inhabitants of Sappho, male and female, turned on the author of Wayzgoose and preferred the McSpaudenisms who spent 1939-1946 safe in the USA rather than in their but recruited as constant stream of Burgess’s Maclean’ s and Bram Fischer’s to apologise for Stalin and the Kulaks, Pol Pot and the Cambodians and Robber Mugabe and the porridge people.


  12. v_3 Reply

    Sadly, the biggest looser is Anne Bernstein, boss of the CDE, for accepting Roodt’s resignation.

    Roodt can emulate or join Cliff Saunders (begin a “Shelly Garland” blog?) and has sufficient wit and talent to bounce on his feet.

    The abysmal standard of the “Huff & Puff” crowd comes as no surprise, “Huffagee” & du Toit will take years to live down their bullying of Roodt while Pillay fits in the same box as Mckaiser, Manyi, Schutte so their reputations can hardly be damaged.

    On the other hand, Bernstein has spent years, first at IRR then CDE building up a reputation which she has wrecked. She should have told Roodt to stand his ground and refused the Huffer vigilante gang admission to the premises.

  13. Bruce Reply

    And this poor man resigned because of that? Having a couple of clowns barge in on him like that?

  14. Peter Leyland Reply

    Did she jump or was she pushed?

    I have seen countless examples in the corporate world where people who have been caught out are encounraged to resign, with leave pay and a certificate of service – the alternative being face a disciplinary committee and certain dismissal.

    1. Spyti K Reply

      I have very little doubt that Pillay had voluntarily been pushed to avoid being fired in the interest of her future, what I doubt in the extreme though is that anything still resembling a real media house would be interested in her services.

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