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Despite attempts at having a peaceful holiday, I have found it necessary to come out of my short hibernation to condemn a gross act being perpetuated across South Africa.

Across social and mainstream media, December has been awash with sensationalist reports of racial hatred. More whites are apparently insulting beachgoers, CEOs are saying stupid things online, and customers are being racially profiled. The Rational Standard has chosen not to report on these events as they are truly not newsworthy, but this has not stopped the apparently ‘professional’ and ‘upstanding’ members of the mainstream media publishing news and commentary on these pitifully-isolated events.

These ‘news’ sources decry these individuals as sources of racism in this country, but this is far from the truth. The Penny Sparrows, Peter Hattinghs, and the seemingly endless beach racists, are not the sources of racial hatred in this country. They are nothing. They are petty, idiotic individuals that exist in any society, and should rightfully be ignored and, for the most part, ostracized privately. There is no reason for big media to start a witch hunt over these individuals. All they accomplish by doing so is further dividing our society by fabricating and overestimating racial hatred.

Thus, it is not these isolated individuals who cause the problems in this country. They are harmless.

The real danger comes from the witch hunt. It comes from big media that seeks to create virtual pogroms and thought police to hunt down these individual representatives of a fictitious white supremacist movement. In their quest for sensationalism and traffic to their websites, they risk inciting racial hatred across South Africa. Unlike the aforementioned pitiful racists, big media has the power to spread its message across the nation, and they use this power irresponsibly.

www.dailymaverick.co.za / Thapelo Lekgowa

By no stretch of the imagination were “2Blacks”, the racist CEO, or any of these beach rants at all newsworthy. Their mass publication across our apparent “mainstream” media shows a gross unprofessionalism and descent into ineptitude in the heights of journalism which we are meant to trust the most.

It is the responsibility of media to publish stories and reports which inform the populace of worthy news and spread a message that upholds honest, quality journalism. The likes of the big media houses have shown that they do not care for this principle. They share unadulterated garbage. They spread isolated affairs and fabricate an atmosphere of hatred. On top of all this, they publish the views of racialist demagogues in their op-ed columns, spreading real racial tension and expanding the power of these people who thrive on hatred.

What this accomplishes is feeding the monsters of racial hatred. It drives traffic to racist populists and radicalises those who could truly do harm.

Julius Malema’s article on Times LIVE is Marxist drivel as one would expect from a professional demagogue. What is truly telling is the fact that Times Media has irresponsibly published a piece that calls for racial conflict and revolution. I don’t expect any better from Malema, but we should have higher standards for the media houses that receive the bulk of our attention.

Tom Eaton’s commentary on these pieces may indicate that these journalists aren’t actually self-aware about their sensationalism. His diatribe puts forth speculative fiction whereby white supremacists, probably led by realtor Penny Sparrow, fling South Africa into a race war. He does not realise the irony that his story may very well be inciting the racial hatred itself, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Before and above all this, we saw news sites spreading unworthy news articles on “2Blacks”, beaches and fabricated racism. Even without the dangers of the growth of genuine racial hatred, the spread of these articles shows a despairing drop in quality in mainstream news. For, by no stretch of the imagination, is a whining git newsworthy. And a slow news day is no excuse for ignoring the principles of quality journalism.

Individuals comment on a Times LIVE article, decrying their sensationalism.
More individuals comment on a Times LIVE article, decrying their sensationalism.

Fortunately, many South Africans aren’t as stupid as the media houses expect. They have flocked to social media to condemn the sensationalism and decry the spread of these articles that spread deceit and hate. These commenters represent the reality of South Africa. We aren’t a country of hate. Most South Africans are either apathetic or reasonable people. Surveys and studies by the Institute of Race Relations have shown that South Africans want to get along.

Sadly, any sort of goodwill can be shifted if the only news people hear about, is that those they want to be friends with actually hate them. For this very reason, the media is the fundamental cause of racial hatred in this country.

But these articles bring traffic to their websites. The businessmen don’t care that they may be destroying this country. They are getting advertisement revenue during a dry news season. The journalists need to report on this because they need to mask their inability to undertake genuine, quality journalism. While this happens, the likes of Malema and other true hate groups want people to think that we are on the verge of a race war. This raises their power and brings them closer to achieving their ideological and personal goals.

Earlier this year, Martin van Staden wrote an article calling for us to reject the preachers of economic ignorance. I urge all South Africans to do the same for these irresponsible and ignorant preachers of racial hatred.

We must not play into the hands of these useless journalists and their sensationalist propaganda. We must reject the hate, reject the likes of Malema and continue to hold news accountable – lest they get what they want, and we all suffer for it.

  • Harald Sitta

    Dear NWS, a very necessary article. The journos in the main stream media today are the scum of the earth. the German term “Luegenpresse” (lying newspaper) is absolutely justified. They are poisoners of wells. What to do? With the alternative and social media we have a great and vast forum to counter.And we can attack them directly by mailing them and telling them our opinion. But look it is all “catch the thief’ and we all know who is shouting that !

    • Steven van Staden

      I’m agreeing with you Harald but acknowledging that two comments are in my experience accurate but obviously generalisations, just for the record.

      • Harald Sitta

        Sure, 99 percent of journos give the honest 1 percent a bad name 🙂 Beside journalism for expert journals I may after decades of observing and reading say that the mainstream media was never as low as today. Tabloids they are. Sorry to say!

        • Steven van Staden

          I disagree: the honest ones make up at least 1.5 per cent.

          • Harald Sitta

            let’s settle for 1.3 % 🙂

          • Steven van Staden

            Half a point in favour of my estimate, so yes, I agree.

  • Harald Sitta

    Journos you may divide in tow groups: the one are unable to understand , the other are unwilling to understand ( Otto von Bismarck) same goes with most politicians. Happy New Year!

  • Makas

    Doesn’t it blow up on Twitter first though? Aren’t they reporting on the fact that it blows up? Something like 2 Blacks had the premier of the Western Cape wading in and I think it might be newsworthy that a CEO of some company holds such views. It’s quite scary what people in some kind of power think. If people overestimate the degree to which it’s prevalent that’s not because of the media, it’s because we don’t have an integrated society.

    If the press is a kind of free market of information, why does it upset you that people want to hear about racism? Give the people what they want, right?

    • A few commenters on Twitter does not equate to the publicity that mainstream media can garner. Zille only commented after it was publicised heavily. Armchair journalists receive “tip-offs” or find the eruptions while trawling through Twitter for stories, rather than doing some proper investigative journalism.

      And this type of media doesn’t need to make up and overly sensationalise news to please readers. They have a captive audience. If anything, this sort of news has caused their collapse, as more and more serious readers have ended their subscriptions and have even stopped reading altogether.

      News has the right to write what they like, yes, but they also have the responsibility to not commit fraud or incite violence. They may be doing just that.

  • Steven van Staden

    Thank you for a pertinent and timely article. As you have noted, the media are increasingly responsible for inflating and demonising the most petty racist comments made by stupid Whites. At the same time, they appear to be ignoring or down-playing the calculated and very dangerous racist designs in the comments made by major Black leaders, not forgetting the ‘kill the whites’ and ‘I will take what’s mine’ sloganeering that abounds among the loudest Blacks on the ground, and which very few Blacks or media are decrying.

    To the best of my recollection, the comments (i.e. the sparrow twitterings) that have become so notorious due to endless regurgitation and reiteration by politicians and journalists were made in anger and under understandable provocation. Not to condone or excuse these comments, it should be acknowledged that, arguably, there was provocation behind these rants vented in fits of rage. There were mitigating factors in other ‘beach comments’ as well as in the Diwali fireworks outburst which took on not only race but religion, the two untouchables. Nor would any decent person justify the behaviour of the more virulent ‘coffin assault’ racists. Nevertheless, their sick act, as farmers of sorts, apparently provoked by intractable trespassing which in the light of farm murders, and exacerbated by Malema’s repeated calls to Blacks to “take back the land,” were also not without provocation. As for the Black Cape Town waiter’s reference to the table with “two Blacks,” it’s difficult to think of a more ludicrous cause for drawing the racist gun. The mitigating excuses for some Black racism are understandably based in the past, but we are no longer in the past and cannot reasonably condone the interminable and inexorable pointing to the past for present failures.

    The ‘coffin assault’ disgusted me, as it must most of us, but the portrayal of such a depraved act by politicians of the ANC and EFF as though it were standard White behaviour is just as revolting and far more poisonous than the act itself, because that deceit has been presented as fact and added to the ammunition which is the stock in trade of the racist Black leaders to whom I have alluded; they thrive on transforming racial division into an unbridgeable chasm interminably inciting Black-on-White hatred by the perpetuation of these exaggerations and fabrications that attach all blame for all wrongs to Whites, and none to Blacks; all blame to the previous government, and none to the present.

    The Times Live publication of a piece of self-serving racist deceit by Julius Malema was a prime example of a major paper carrying insupportable and indefensible anti-White propaganda to add to the racist arsenal. Surely the newspaper might better have served the truth and the people, one and all, rather than the cause of the warmongering mobs, by requiring that Malema explain, substantiate and justify his pathetic claims that “taking the land back” and nationalising the banks, inter alia, would solve the problem of poverty among the masses who remain largely uneducated after twenty-two years of Black rule. And have they asked the leader of the ANC Youth League to elucidate the means by which the economy is expected miraculously to spring back to life after the ANC have destroyed the the hackneyed-to-death ‘White Monopoly Capital’ and the Rand? No, instead, we have the commentaries of Shutte and Eastman referred to in Nicholas Woode-Smith’s article above.

    This absolutely vacuous and vitriolic sloganeering alluded to above, of which of course there is far worse which does not bear repeating here, has the sole purpose of wrenching divisions ever wider to meet the obvious ends of the demagogue. It is the classic arsenal of demagogues (not forgetting the many in waiting) which has no place in a democracy. That tactic, of course, is expected of demagogues.

    Surely we should expect independent news media to expose this ominous development for what it is and to warn of it’s extreme dangers. But no. Rather, these media are lending credence to the lies and deceits of ‘revolutionary’ leaders of uneducated mobs, while portraying Whites in the ‘coffin assault’ mould, furthering the retrograde cause of those whose aim is to destroy any hope of the real interlinked racial and economic progress South Africa cannot defer any longer (one might refer back to Phumlani M UMajozi’s and Martin van Staden’s articles on Rational Standard, as well as those of others elsewhere, which time does not permit me to quote from here).

  • Alex J Nagel

    Thank you Nicholas. Time someone set the record straight as far as journalists are concerned. People on Social Media should also refrain for posting and re-posting these rants as we are wont to do. That also extends the life of these articles