“We appear to have lost contact with Bright Matonga.” (smirk) Black Africans are treated like no others are treated Dec. 5, 2014)
“We appear to have lost contact with Bright Matonga.” (smirk) Black Africans are treated like no others are treated
Two examples of selective media standards this morning: first on the Qatar government’s mouthpiece Al Jazeera, the second on Radio New Zealand National.
1.) “Preparing for life after Mugabe?”, Inside Story, Al Jazeera, Fri 5 Dec. 2014, 6.30 a.m. (NZ time) Guests: Bright Matonga (former Zimbabwean deputy Minister of Information); Obert Gutu and Lance Guma. The presenter was one Veronica Pedrosa, who makes a specialty out of pulling funny faces and pausing meaningfully to convey her feelings about certain news items. Towards the end of this morning’s programme, Bright Matonga, the pro-government speaker, started to raise his voice and keep talking, in a rather irritating manner.
Now, there is no question that he was being obnoxious and quite deliberately trying to drown out the other two men by talking nonstop; this is done quite often by media-trained politicians and “think tank” spokespeople. It’s a strategy that is used incessantly by Israeli government spokesmen like the notorious Mark Regev and by almost every Israeli government apologist, whether on Al Jazeera or any other forum. Time after time, Israeli apologists hijack and destroy discussions, whether on Al Jazeera, the BBC, CNN or anywhere else that tries to, however mildly, hold them to account. But it is inconceivable that Veronica Pedrosa or anyone else would cut the sound off when Mark Regev or Ofir Gendelman or David Assaraf or indeed any of the even more extreme and intolerant illegal “settlers” from the Occupied Territories while he (or occasionally she) is in mid-filibuster.
With black Africans, however, there’s a different standard. Bright Matonga started filibustering—-annoying and rude, certainly, but compared to Israeli spokesmen, he was polite and well-mannered. Veronica Pedrosa was having none of it, however—she cut off not only his voice, but his picture. “We appear to have lost contact with Bright Matonga,” she said, with a smirk. The screen behind her suddenly had two big heads on it instead of three.
2.) Radio New Zealand National, Friday 5 December 2014, 9:10 a.m. A controversy has arisen over the sale by the City Gallery in Wellington of the Sir John Lavery painting Anna Pavlova as the Swan, which was bequeathed to it by the renowned dance Alexander Grant. Host Lynn Freeman announced that she would be speaking to City Gallery director Elizabeth Caldwell and Alexander Grant’s cousin Margaret Chalk. Then she announced: “Elizabeth Caldwell has insisted that she be allowed to speak first today.”
Lynn Freeman’s decision to broadcast something that had obviously been negotiated in private seems to me to be morally questionable. By so doing, she cast Elizabeth Caldwell as devious and manipulative. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not. But the pointed, deliberate revelation of that seemingly minor procedural detail served to undermine Elizabeth Caldwell before she had even spoken.
Lynn Freeman’s divulging of that information might be acceptable if she and other Radio NZ presenters made clear the stipulations and demands of politicians that speak to them. But I have never heard them do that. Elizabeth Caldwell could be shown up like that; powerful and vindictive people like John Key or Steven Joyce are never dealt with in such a demeaning manner.