Given the recent state of current affairs in South Africa, the phrase journalistic “exposé” has become somewhat of a misnomer. It hardly deserves to be called an “exposé” when one accidental, effortless journalistic prod renders a billowing flood of Pandora’s mopanie worms.
Thanks to the corrupt state of South African officialdom and state departments, journalists get to play chiiiing-choooong-cha in choosing whom they would like to drape all over the front page for a public spanking every week.
We, The Readership, are treated to tabloid-style political exposés, criminal exposés, the odd politico-criminal exposé (get the Sunday Times this Sunday for His Excellency Selebi’s cover appearance) – but virtually no environmental scandals.
Sure, South Africa, in the holistic sense, is suffering from crime and corruption – but is the country not being ecologically crippled by environmental thuggery in the large industrial sectors? Is the fact that the South African skies are getting smoggier with each passing year not indicative of the Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and its (equally ineffectual) transport counterpart’s all-consuming inertia?
But that’s a post for another day – no seriously, I promise.
Getting back to the news hounds: Would it be preposterous to surmise that the mainstream media have vested material interests that are being furthered by pursuing certain political agendas?
Does tabloid headlines about ministerial addictions and organ theft not sell more newspapers? Or am I being totally unfair in holding mere reporters accountable for the implementation of sensationalist editorial policies?
Am I alone in thinking that there is less money to be made from reporting on environmental issues than from covering political shenanigans? Or is it perhaps a case of mainstream media moguls being wined and dined (“steak-incentivised”) into ignoring certain, shall we say, industrial shortcomings in the environmental accountability department?
Why can mainstream investigative journalists (with the exception, of course, of the Special Assignment crew) not be as relentless in exposing the clearly-abounding Envirogate scandals as they are in bringing us a fare of Livergate and Travelgate soap operas?
The author of this blog reserves the right to generalise certain trends and phenomena, if only for the sake of brevity and making a point. He acknowledges that crime and corruption are 800-pound gorilla-sized challenges.
Yet how weighty an issue will the accountability of individual parliamentarians be when we only have toxic air to breathe all year round, or when half our coastal towns and cities’ citizens become climate refugees due to global warming?
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