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.

Nicholas is a co-founder and Managing Editor at the Rational Standard. He is a Council Member of the Institute for Race Relations as well as a Regional Coordinator for African Students For Liberty. Nicholas is also a science fiction author, writing the Warpmancer Series.