Manufacturing ignorance at an industrial scale

18 Oct, 2015 - 00:10 0 Views
Manufacturing ignorance at an industrial scale Sunday Mail

The Sunday Mail

Ours is a society that is learning quickly from the West all the wrong things about politics and public debate.
Zimbabwe is fast becoming a society that places utmost value on form rather than content, shape rather than substance.
This is largely driven by a private media in a horrible race to the bottom as various organisations in that sector try to outdo each other in manufacturing false realities that have no foundational base apart from an irrational hatred of all things President Mugabe.
That is the reason why they cannot publish anything apart from “factional this” and “factional that”.
And when they are challenged on this and asked to account for their misrepresentations, they cry that these are attacks on Press freedom!
All form and no substance.
It reminds us of what American Isaac Asimov had to say in an interview some 30-odd years ago.
He said: “The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread running through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.
Asimov was referring to American society as he saw it in the 1980s, but he could just as easily have been talking about Zimbabwe in 2015.
But ours is more than just a strain of anti-intellectualism.
This is a dangerous cult that is rapidly morphing into an acceptable way of life, threatening our continued existence as a rational people.
We are talking here about ignorance at an industrial scale.
The continued publication of what are supposed to be “news” stories on the goings-on in Zanu-PF are nothing more than an incestuous enterprise involving the opposition media and the opposition political parties they support.
These private media houses dream up the most fantastical claims about what is happening in Zanu-PF; ask someone in the opposition who is totally ignorant about what is really going on to “validate” those dream-claims; and then publish those claims ad nauseam until even they themselves are convinced that they are not dreaming and are indeed telling the truth.
It is all very in-house, with little to no attempt to establish the facts on the ground opting instead to make things up as they go along.
The problem is not that the private media believe that First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe is at turns leading a faction within Zanu-PF and then being the centre of power in Zanu-PF and Government.
No. That is their own problem, their own delusion, their own illness.
The real tragedy is that industrial-scale ignorance is daily being unleashed on an unsuspecting public by organisations that cry “Press freedom” whenever they are called to order.
The real tragedy is that these organisations that specialise in the dark arts of irresponsible journalism are being allowed to try and shape Zimbabwe into a society that believes democracy is saying “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”.
The people of Zimbabwe should refuse to lower their standards just to amuse those among us who fail to raise their own.
That race to the bottom of the ignorance pit is not democracy.
The people of Zimbabwe should not be harangued into thinking that the State should allow the continued abuse of the public by a private media hell-bent on lowering the standards of journalism and public debate is the same as Press freedom.
That conflation of Press freedom and ignorance is not democracy.
The State should not jail them. After all, ignorance — whether perpetuated incestuously or otherwise — is not a crime. It is tragic but not a crime.
The market will decide. That is democracy.




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