Tuesday, 13 December 2016

The Beginning of Freedom

Greetings and salutations! Welcome to my weekly rant about the dark, sinister soap opera we all tune into everyday, willingly or unwillingly, we cannot avoid it, on television, radio, Facebook, print or even from the mouths of other people: the news.

Ja, you thought I was going to be talking about something exciting and then I said "the news." But it actually is quite exciting if you think about it, or maybe if I - quite justly - advertised it as "a reality show- so intense, so bizarre, so real it'll make you question everything you know. And every moment affects you!" I don't know why news agencies haven't caught onto this sort of advertising, I mean, it can even sell shows about hair-dressing and cakes. But perhaps the reason it seems so official and certainly uninteresting to some people is the air of impartiality news outlets need to maintain. But one who looks closely will find that the media are hardly ever impartial or objective.

So you are probably wondering about the title of this blog. No? Okay, read it again. Now you're wandering. The Open Mind? So this guy thinks he is the most open-minded person around and wants to help us free ourselves from our own dogmatism? No. I'm actually pretty firm in my opinions, though I do put high value on listening to and evaluating the opinions of others. The reason I started this blog and gave it the name i did is that my opinion is not portrayed in the media in South Africa. Yes I am South African if you were wondering. We've already discussed that most media outlets are somewhat biased, but countries like the USA are blessed to have different news corporations that represent different sides of the political spectrum. For example: Fox news is unabashedly right-wing, while CNN is even more so left-wing, so by paying attention to both you can get the bigger picture. However in South Africa, all major news outlets, so far as I have been able to observe lean left, significantly swaying public opinion that way as well.

I will say from the start that I am centre-right on the political spectrum. I know that will immediately turn some people away from reading this, but I hope you will stay, just to see things from a different point of view, even if you don't agree with me. And if you think I'm talking rubbish I'm open to debate. Leave a comment. (I'm brand new to this site, so I'm not sure, but I think you can leave comments.) As long as it is intellectual argument and not emotional name-calling I'm up for it.

What really inspired me to make my voice heard was the #FeesMustFall protests. Being a student at Wits, the epicentre of it all, I have first hand experience of what was happening, and what was reported in the media, even by international-award-winning Eye Witness News, was not a true reflection of what was really happening. The news portrayed the protesters as helpless victims of police brutality. In reality the police were being used as a tool to advance the interests of the protesters. An endless supply of clips of student-leaders accusing the police of firing rubber and tear gas unprovoked. These were however blatant lies. The protests were never peaceful. The protesters ignored court orders, abused the rights of other students, damaged property and threw rocks and other objects at the police. Then student leaders had the audacity to complain about the militarisation of campus as an infringement of the rights of students, which complaints got plenty of airtime, while they themselves organised to have lectures disrupted and the university vandalised.

One particular incident that I can give first hand experience on is the #TakeBackWits protest, which was organised as a peaceful protest, to give voice to those who wanted to continue with lectures, regardless of agreement or disagreement with the #FeesMustFall principles. Of course there were counter protesters to this movement and the media reported 'clashes breaking out' between the two groups. These "clashes" however were limited to a small group of all white students attempting to block our passage to the great hall, tearing our posters and yelling atrocities such as "F--- white people!" and calling us sellouts. And most impressively we managed to get all the  way to the great hall - where we were met with more intimidation - and back without any retaliation to the abuse we received. The media didn't report on this abuse of intimidation, but instead portrayed it as a back-and-forth, which was completely inaccurate.

So my posts will deal largely with politics and current affairs. I will point out bias and misinformation in the the main-stream media, as I have done in this post, and will provide an alternative point of view to the leftist propaganda you will hear everyday.

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