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Saturday, 20 February 2010


'Media stupidity has to come to an end.' 
This is not the first time for the 4th estate to be referred to in unsavoury terms. The very nature of journalism makes it prone to attacks by those caught up in the media's constant attempts to interrogate the truth, in matters of public interest.

But the scenario does change a bit when the person firing salvos at the media happens to be one who hitherto had considered herself to be a journalist.

Does it mean all along this person had not been a full convert of the tenets and guiding principles of journalism and her professional heart lay elsewhere? It is quite telling that her background is in law.

It does however leave a bitter taste to hear somebody besmirch the very professional occupation that has earned her widespread recognition and admiration. Was the trust of the loyal public misplaced?

I imagine a disgruntled doctor going public and dismissing the whole medicine profession as harbouring 'stupidity.' Or a lecturer shouting from the rooftops saying the 'stupidity' in the teaching profession has to come to an end.

How about a banker, accountant, pilot, soldier, musician, pastor, dentist, marketer, designer, contractor, architect, nutritionist, matatu driver, hair stylist, politician (...aah...maybe), model, farmer........

You get my 'stupidity' drift.


Shiundu said...

Every journalist who is not too stupid or full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people's vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.
--Janet Malcolm, The Journalist and the Murderer, 1990

Albert Gachiri said...

I agree, Folks, that particular breed of journalists is to be abhorred. But journalism as a whole is an enlightening engagement designed to benefit the public and should not be a self-serving preoccupation.

Osas said...

1. Brenda needs another tailor, but nobody will tell her. Sigh.

2. Esther's criticism would be generally justified at any time, but in the given case is only an expression of her personal anguish.

3. I have no comment on Esther's soap story, except that I feel truly sorry for the girl. I have met 14-year-olds far more mature.

4. Critical and enlightened reporting on religious matters does not exist in Kenya. Maybe it should be started as a journalism project.

Albert Gachiri said...

Osas, I understand Esther has every right to express her personal anguish. If this is directed at a particular journalist or media house and left at that, it would be okay. But to generalize and give the impression that the media as an entity is of 'questionable intelligence,' makes you wonder whether it should then be concluded she had all along been leading her audience astray, as a newscaster. About reporting on religious issues, this is such a potentially explosive matter and even gets more complicated in Kenya. It has so happened that some religious leaders have been known to lobby their faithfuls to boycot a particular media outlet because of critical reports. This is not good for business and many editors would want to steer clear of religious controversies.