Making news out of nothing
JOURNALISM does not tell us that human beings are automotive machines.
Neither does political science teach us that our political leaders should behave like programmed computers that can only falter during electricity load-shedding or when “the system is down” simply because we are in the Modern Age.
Even cybernetics tells us that the world of cyberspace has never been 100 percent perfect.
Last week, the “intelligent” private media proved us off-side and blew their strident whistle.
But this time, instead of an off-side, the private media - in particular those operating solely from the domain of the world wide web - which have morphed into self-made referees of the so-called succession game actually declared a penalty kick.
‘’Shocker: Mugabe ‘appoints’ Supa Mandiwanzira as President,’’ screamed one headline. Of course, this was less mischievous than another which read: ‘’Mugabe reveals successor for 0,5 seconds’’.
The first headline was meant to acknowledge the President’s slip of the tongue and simultaneously embed some kind of irony whose source is best known by the writer/publisher of the article.
The second headline was laid out to deceive the public by not acknowledging the President’s apparent error.
It sought to fool readers into believing that President Mugabe had unwittingly revealed who his successor would be.
But media companies must sell news not meaningless headlines.
Apart from robbing their readers, such kind of reportage by the media is misleading the public by creating facts and perpetuating fake news.
Distorted news can never be constructive.
Media companies exist for the progress of our society and not to loot people’s hard-earned dollars and instigate instability.
A slip of the tongue is a slip of the tongue; whether it is by the President or by an ordinary person. It can never become a policy pronunciation, nor will it be a dream come true for successionists.
When land reforms were declared two decades ago, a slip of the tongue was not involved.
A repeated voice directed that trajectory.
Why then has a slip of the tongue become a source of news today?
It is the same kind of nothingness that followed the incident some time back when President Mugabe broke his fall at Harare International Airport.
Suddenly President Mugabe was not allowed to experience something as mundane as missing his while walking.
It is an undeniable fact that our President, though energetic in body and mercurial in mind, does not consist of atomic cells but human flesh.
The tale of journalists getting paid for writing about slips of the tongue is not comical. It tells about how far the quality of our media content has fallen, and how far some people will go to swindle a dollar out of the public.
These same forces have embedded the private media with voices that will never say any good about our country.
Wherever there is a slight, human error, they jump with glee and start screaming all sorts of nonsense.
And whenever they see some good done, they retreat into their shells and pretend that nothing has happened.
People who exaggerated this faint incident in which President Mugabe mistakenly addressed Cde Mandiwanzira as “president” did it purposely.
They are elements addicted to the notion of “succession crisis”; elements that fan it in the hope of ultimately influencing our political leaders in particular and the political processes of the country in general.
We have to pause and ask ourselves, and this is something each and every one of us must do: Is this well-documented and highly-celebrated idiocy the hallmark of the freedom of expression that the private media always clamour for?