S.Africa: KILL THE BOER Court Case – On the media’s reaction to AfriForum vs Malema/EFF


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The media and commentariat’s reaction to the AfriForum vs Malema/EFF court case speaks volumes

Even though the most condemnable aspect of the AfriForum vs EFF “Kill the Boer” case most certainly was many parts of Julius Malema’s disturbing testimony under oath, the reactions from the media and members of the South African columnist party came a surprising close second. AfriForum’s legal team, spearheaded by Advocate Mark Oppenheimer, did a fantastic job in exposing the true militant, extremist Julius Malema, and his violent aspirations, to South Africa and the world.

However, instead of shining a bright spotlight on Malema’s heinous remarks, the media, with the odd exception, chose to make comments of his such as “I will be president one day, whether you like it or not” their headline story. The comment-class, in what can only be described as an allied united front, scrambled as if drafted, with their opinion pieces flashing like bayonets, to attack AfriForum for allegedly being just as fringe and reprehensible as the EFF they were taking on in court.

Stephen Grootes argued that the EFF and AfriForum are two sides of the same coin, with both being extreme and both taking part in a cynical exercise to divide the country for their own benefit. It is hard to fathom how twisted your analytical ability must be to so flippantly equate a prominent politician who refuses to pledge that he will never call for the slaughtering of an entire racial group, with the civil rights organisation with enough guts to expose him in court in an effort to stop his hate speech. The reply section to poor Pauli van Wyk’s approving tweet of Grootes’ opinion piece opened a floodgate of people on social media strongly supporting AfriForum, while tearing the opinion piece to pieces.

Next in line from the commentariat rushing in to answer the call of duty to fling mud at AfriForum, was Max du Preez. Du Preez’s line of reasoning was that all AfriForum managed to do with this case was to force most black and white South Africans “to take sides”. Max, if you genuinely struggle to choose a side between a party that blatantly refuses to promise that he will never call for the slaughter of white people, and a party which resorts to the rule of law to expose and prevent such repulsive hate speech, then your moral compass is hopelessly rotten.

Nickolaus Bauer opted for a shorter Twitter thread, instead of a heavy opinion piece, to execute his light cavalry attack as part of the anti-AfriForum front. His angle of attack was to cheaply and superficially smear the motives of me and my colleagues at AfriForum as a purely cynical, selfish, money-chasing exercise.

Chris Roper, in his self-labelled “sermon”, merrily galloped along in the same formation and made the same baseless, insulting assertion. I grew up in a farming community. I know people affected by horrific farm attacks and murders. I’ve had to console a terrified loved one over the phone during an attempted attack on her family’s rural home. I’ve talked to the traumatised victims that have survived these horrors. With this in mind, Nickolaus and Chris, I reject your disrespectful, disgraceful speculation about our motives at AfriForum, with the contempt it deserves.

Lastly, from thin air, an air attack was launched by Piet Croucamp, who shamelessly and paternalistically fawned over Malema’s impressive rhetoric and his “striking” sketch of the black–white narrative in South Africa. At the outset, Piet admits that he didn’t follow the last few days of the trial (arguably the most critical days in court) and obtained his information from social media. Piet’s self-admitted lack of effort to look before he zealously jumps to his peer-approved conclusions, will be matched by me with the “no further questions, your Honour” response it deserves.

A common thread running through all these hit pieces is the fallacious argument that the platform this case provided Malema, garnered more support for his party. Firstly, the people who really provided Malema with a favourable, sympathetic platform to campaign on, were the journalists and media outlets. They made Malema’s remark that he’ll be president one day or the observation that AfriForum’s advocate bore a resemblance to Jan van Riebeeck, their headline stories, instead of his shocking refusal to pledge that he will never call for the slaughtering of white people.

Secondly, I am of the opinion that if these journalists and commentators acted responsibly by reporting objectively on this case, in particular Malema’s indefensible remarks, this court case could in fact have led to a bigger reduction in support for the EFF and Malema.

It should have been the easiest thing in the world for any reasonable person to condemn Malema’s reprehensible comments and applaud AfriForum who brought them to light. But instead we were bombarded with 1 000-word breathless columns, peddling blatantly false equivalences or the columnist’s apparent mind-reading capabilities when it comes to AfriForum’s motives. If you believe AfriForum and the EFF are cut from the same cloth, why do you clearly hold us to different standards?

It appears as though the commentariat fear that they will burst into flames if they say even as much as a slightly decent word about AfriForum, if they give Julius Malema the condemnation he deserves, or if they go a week without signalling their disdain for AfriForum. In terms of Hanlon’s razor, one should "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity". However, if after the disturbing evidence in this trial, you still paint the EFF and AfriForum as two sides of the same coin, you must expect to be seen as most definitely falling into the malice category.

Karin Morrow summed it up succinctly by stating that AfriForum’s cardinal “crime”, in the eyes of their critics, is apparently that the organisation is primarily white and Afrikaans. The undeniable fact remains that the AfriForum vs EFF/Malema trial granted all descent people a golden opportunity to collectively condemn Malema and his allies self-professed militant extremists, spewing hateful, violent, racist rhetoric. Sadly, this opportunity was squandered by many who are clearly more concerned about being seen in public even partly siding with AfriForum, than condemning the indefensible.

As far as covering the real news from the trial is concerned, the growing alternative media ecosystem gave us a ray of hope. Alternative media platforms and personalities such as the ManPatria Podcast, Sihle Ngobese (Big Daddy Liberty), Roman Cabanac (Morning Shot), Renaldo Gouws, Chris Wyatt, Joe Emilio and more, provided excellent and much needed coverage of this case, as well as solid analysis of the parts which were truly significant and relevant. I take my hat off to them.

Judging by the overwhelming negative response to the distorted, prejudiced anti-AfriForum opinion pieces and media coverage (or lack thereof) it is clear that many are sick and tired of AfriForum being consistently misrepresented, maligned and smeared in the media, predominantly by the same small circle of people. The overwhelming support and positive feedback for AfriForum from the general public of all races and communities during and after this case have been immense and most inspiring.

Thank you from AfriForum to all you good, decent people out there. For people like you, AfriForum will fight its fingers to the bone. This court case has been both exciting and taxing for our team. Few things however put a fire in our chests like confronting genuine, callous wickedness head-on and making it and its allies blink first.

Source: https://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/on-the-medias-reaction-to-afriforum-vs-malemaeff?utm_source=Politicsweb+Daily+Headlines&utm_campaign=0a877f88d3-

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