State Media’s Template Journalism Exposes Desperation
OPINION – When human beings concoct lies, the intent is to have somebody believe them as true in a bid to create an advantage over something or somebody or simply to conceal the truth
The greatest fiction created this week by a section of the state media, The Herald, exposed the worst gutter and yellow journalism of contemporary times whose intention is quite curious.
Seemingly regurgitating a template prepared by masters who are out to tarnish the person of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC in general, Zimbabweans were shocked to be told by some shameless reporter at The Herald that Tsvangirai addressed Western diplomats in Harare last Monday advising them to maintain sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Even some within the rank and file of ZANU PF must have held their heads in shame for they knew very well that the Prime Minister, at the time he was said to be addressing diplomats in Harare, was literally thousands of miles out of Africa. For a reporter to go public with such naked and provable lies is not only preposterous and unethical but grossly insane.
This writer has it on good authority that the Prime Minister was not in Harare on Monday. The writer also has no doubt that the Prime Minister only returned to Zimbabwe via South Africa on Thursday (Zimbabwe time). This information can be verified with Department of Foreign Affairs or anybody who has access to bookings at Air Zimbabwe or South African Airways. Even the most junior officer at the embassy in Canberra can also confirm that the Prime Minister was indeed away from Zimbabwe at the time he is said to have made such a frivolous statement in Harare.
If we had been told that he had addressed journalists and diplomats by video link or any other technology of the modern times, some would have believed it. Those who know that he was at a very distant location to celebrate academic achievement by one of his children could not believe it when such claptrap was peddled by the traditional and shameless liars at Herald House.
This gibberish reportage brought memories of numerous skewed news items that are churned out by the state media on a daily basis. Without opening old wounds, it is the same media that once reported that the new ambassador to Canberra had acted improperly at the end of last year. The weird allegation was discounted by authorities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs only after a thousand of dollars were wasted in flying the energetic, hardworking and passionate ambassador to Harare for what was then called “consultation or briefing”. The same media told the world that the ambassador had been recalled. Whatever happened to the recall???
If there is any state journalist who struggles to tell the difference between Morgan Tsvangirai and Theresa Makone, my advice is simple; the former wears trousers while the latter wears skirts.
As for Biti, anybody who is not blind cannot struggle to differentiate him from his boss.
Do we still have editors at the state media? What are they doing? Bill Saidi, Tomy Sithole, Geoff Nyarota, Trevor Ncube, where are you when the country needs you most? The reporter who peddled such lies not only does he/she deserve to be fired, but must not be allowed anywhere near a pen and paper ever in their life. It is just a disgrace! Even the legendary Potonjere ((for those who can still remember the comic series) will envy reporters at The Herald for being worse clowns than him.
If anything, indications are that the Prime Minister is working hard in the background to have economic sanctions lifted. The fact that he has not gone on top of rooftops to blow the trumpet about it doesn’t mean he is not doing something about it. Considering that the MDC has the economic ministries in addition to being genuinely concerned about the future of Zimbabwe, it does not take a rocket scientist to know that the party of excellence is playing its part in having sanctions removed in toto.
Nevertheless, travel bans for individuals who fail to satisfy certain basic behavioural benchmarks, is not a matter for the Prime Minister or MDC. Recently, Dumiso Dabengwa and his child were removed from the list. We didn’t hear that Tsvangirai had anything to do with it. Those countries that imposed travel restrictions had good reasons for doing so. At the right time, they will also have good reasons for removing those restrictions.
Nevertheless, every cloud has a silver lining. The most encouraging thing about the false report is that we now know that there are people who live a terribly paranoid life to the extent of seeing and feeling the presence of the Prime Minister even when he is thousands of miles away. At this rate, even Save’s jacket in the office will do half of his work!
This article was written by our regular political commentator Moses Chamboko. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org N.B Readers please note, the views expressed in this article are the writer’s personal views.