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US media has become the true opposition

06 Sep 2020 at 08:59hrs | Views
LISTEN ye men of Dzimbahwe, even those foolish MaShurugwi, to these wise words.

Over the last 30 years, the power of the media has grown out of all proportion to its intended purpose, which was to render to the citizen unvarnished information.

In the US, as we speak, the media, led by the New York Times and Cable News Network (CNN), has come to believe that it has the power to overthrow a president it don't like.

On or about October 16 2016, before the elections in November, the New York Times editor met with a 22-man team of senior staff and announced that everything must be done to stop Donald Trump from assuming office.

Today, they are leading the charge. I am going to make a very serious suggestion.

Any modern government, before assuming office, must appraise its relationship with the media, and come to some accommodation. if it fails to do so, it may find itself overthrown by an unelected force which does not answer to anybody, but its owners.

If one is to compare exposure of government misdeeds by the MDC Alliance and similar efforts attributed to Hopewell Chin'ono, it is not an exaggeration to say that Hopewell has done more to shape the government image as a corrupt, insensitive neanderthal than the opposition party.

This development is not unique to Zimbabwe and the US. in 1999, leader of the British Labour Party, Tony Blair, came to a compact with Rupert Murdoch, owner of a stable of newspapers and television networks. Murdoch, an Australian, despised the idea of the European Union. if Blair didn't toe the line, Murdoch is reported to have told him, his newspapers would "destroy him".

In 2002, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu narrowly lost an election. He blamed it on his inability to command the narrative. His party acquired a newspaper. He has been the longest-serving prime minister since.

Since the election is two months away, the war between the media and the Trump government has been heating up. CNN's chief anchorman Don Lemon has thrown caution to the wind.

News is where one looks. Lem on will not interview Republicans and had suggested that trump press conferences be exorcised from the news bulletins altogether.

When he is not reading the news, he sets himself up to be interviewed by his surrogate, so he can say some choice words about Trump.

For three years, CNN had a daily anti-trump show as well as round-the-clock tirades against trump. not satisfied with that, with the New York Times, they advanced a concocted Russiagate story; that trump had won the election through Russian assistance.

they are now in a desperate situation - the wind seems to be moving in Trump's direction. So while they read the news (Anti-Trump propaganda really), they change chairs and give advice to their favourite candidate, vice president Joe Biden.

Minneapolis is the city where George Floyd was murdered by a white police officer. the city usually has a 1 000-man police force. After a police precinct office block was burned down, the city commissioners reduced the police budget (called defunding). About 100 men and women have taken sick leave, blamed it on post-traumatic causes and general hostility towards police.

That is fine in theory. As I write, three men were shot this morning, but police are nowhere to be found.

The city is in the process of abolishing the old-fashioned police department, replacing it with

A "department of community safety and violence prevention".they are seeking a commissioner with "non-law enforcement experience", but somebody with public health experience and intimate with "restorative justice".

With a 107-year-old business burned down, more whole streets boarded up, ordinary citizens are living in fear.

The proposal about restorative justice is of interest only to juvenile college freshmen. true, the police should not be called to rescue a cat which is perched on a tree branch while scared of a neighbour's vicious dog.

But a businessman wants a policeman to arrest a burglar who has locked himself in his walk-in cooling room. He does not want to hear about restorative justice.

So trump, a master politician, held a roundtable meeting with Kenosha businessmen whose properties had been burned.

Trump may be on a "winning streak", so New York Times senior reporter Thomas Friedman is in a state of panic.

The issue we have been emphasising is that media houses have become the hotbed of opposition politics. Worse, it is possible that these media houses are foreign-owned. Murdoch has extensive media interests in Britain and the US, as well as in his homeland.

In the African situation, media houses are owned by imperialist interests. that is a very dangerous situation.

Nevertheless, expropriation is not at the moment feasible. There are ways of influencing the media. Former President Barack Obama had a calibrated ambient relationship. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu bought his own newspaper.

The British royal house used to influence the media by inviting them to a royal party once a year. the invitation, written on royal mail, "commanded the same said gentleman or gentlewoman, to attend a reception held by Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace gardens".

This royal invitation was a prized possession and was displayed at the editor's desk for younger novices to see and drool with envy. naughty "boys or girls" could be "disinvited". this, to the British, was enough to keep the media system in compliance.

Obama went further than that. He employed some spouses of the most garrulous reporters as spokespersons in his government. He buttressed this "ambient relationship" with a cordial press conference where favourite correspondents were primed in advance.

The British system of self-control and patriotic honour is falling apart with the influx of American barbarians who have no respect for tradition and civilised habits. With their chequebook journalism, they want to buy "scoops", return to the US and become famous.

I had offered my services to President ED Mnangagwa after the November 2017 coup free of charge. My aim was to retrain the media officers of state to use Obamasque methods of taming the shrew. A government which finds itself at odds with the media houses has nobody to blame if it is overthrown.

The choice is very clear. there must be a way of handling hot potatoes like Hopewell Chin'ono without making them martyrs. If Hopewell dies in a stupid jailhouse, that event can be a game-changer. Obama had a piece of advice to his senior staff.

"Don't do stupid things."

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Ken Mufuka is a Zimbabwean patriot and writer. He can be reached at mufuakken@gmail. com. His books are sold in Zimbabwe by Innov Bookshops and in the world by kenmufukabooks.com

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