OPINION: Racism at the centre of Roper’s attack on Independent Media

Published Oct 24, 2018


JOHANNESBURG - If one extracted some of the hyperbolic paragraphs of Chris Roper’s article published in the Daily Maverick on 22 October 2018 complaining about constant interference with editorial independence and a fake investigative unit, one could have easily insinuated that he was busy describing the situation at Tiso Blackstar.

Especially with their recent debacle and the U-turns that they made about their coverage of the Cato Manor “death squad”, the SARS “rogue unit” and the Zimbabwean renditions. 

However, those who are his paymasters are sympathetic to Tiso Blackstar, and are well served by them, so he only refers in passing to their constant presentation of fake news on the front pages of their publications (especially the Sunday Times) as a breakdown of "editorial rigor".

No, Roper, has reserved his verbose attack for the Independent Media newspapers.

As a journalist and advocate of media diversity in South Africa, I would like to categorically state that I do not have any ambitions, whatsoever of joining any media house that is associated with publishing fake news. In fact, it would be detrimental to my career to associate myself with any media house that has admitted this to that effect.

Secondly, Roper speaks about a “fake investigative unit” that is manned by “junior reporters”. 

This is not only a highly dubious proposition, but it is absurd to say the least and smacks of the racism perpetuated by the likes of Roper that many capable black professionals have had to contend with in SA’s economic landscape. 

For years, since the dawn of our democracy, some middle-aged white men like Roper, who are often in the minority, have pushed a narrative that anything black in the professional world needs to constantly be developed, managed and overseen by a white master to ensure its validity.

Here is a reality check for the likes of Roper; most black professionals from my generation are not subservient to whiteness in any way shape or form.

Especially from white middle-aged journalists and editors who claim to have the best intentions for our democracy at heart yet work tirelessly behind the scenes to denigrate black people who are trying to make a positive contribution to our society. 

They mask their contempt towards black progress and excellence by drawing ridiculous parallels with Neo-Nazism in a desperate attempt to remain relevant.

Many other black journalists and I in South Africa understand that the future of the media industry in this country lies in the hands of young, connected, “woke” black people who have been denied a voice and stifled by white-owned media houses.

In the week that Tiso Blackstar and their main title, the Sunday Times, stands exposed as major peddlers of lies and fake news - always with the intention to serve the objective of their WMC paymasters - Roper sees it fit to accuse Independent Media of "state capture" and of running "disinformation campaigns".

That while Independent Media handled these issues with admirable balance and care.

The legitimate criticism that is expressed in the Independent Media publications about the epic failure in journalistic ethics of the Sunday Times is by distorted logic of epic proportions described by Roper as a legitimate issue that Dr Survé "hijacked" for "crude propaganda" and "state capture".

How he can reach this topsy-turvy conclusion on the back of one of the most epic journalistic scandals in recent history boggles the mind! 

However, the cheap attack dogs that are employed by Tiso Blackstar and their associates, are not expected to be balanced and logical - they are just paid to attack. 

This is the journalistic version of “Sa Bruno!”, and I suppose the added benefit when your ‘Bruno’ is a failed blogger, such as Roper, is that he cannot really demand much payment for his dirty attacks.

The Sunday Times was outed recently by forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan as being complicit in state capture politics. 

What then, does that say about the professional integrity of not only the commission, but Tiso Blackstar as a media house where one of its publications will soon have to testify at the Zondo commission for its role in the spreading of fake news and propaganda? 

But as the old saying goes, one gets what one pays for, and in this instance, it turned out to be a pathetic, shallow and personalised attack on Dr. Survé detached from any factual reality.

One cannot help but wonder why white journalists like Roper have such an issue with Dr. Survé’s qualifications, and especially acknowledging them. 

He is indeed one of the best qualified chairpersons, and it is true that there are few chairpersons and CEOs of large companies listed on the JSE that have similar qualifications.

One cannot avoid the vexed issue of race in Roper's flawed analysis. This is a problem of white journalistic hags resenting a successful black person, who has consistently refused to become the lackey of white monopoly capital, and who has been determined to chart his own way.

Independent Media is the danger that it is to the likes of Tiso Blackstar, not because it manufactures fake news (that is the exercise of the Sunday Times and Business Day), but because the proud independence of Dr Survé, and the manner in which he promotes black excellence, in comparison exposes them for the shameless lackeys that they are.

That is the main reason why they launch their relentless vicious attacks and try everything possible to destroy him and especially Independent Media. 

The likes of Roper can shout and scream "racism" as much as they want to, but ultimately this does boil down to an issue of race - the racism of those whites like him who will do everything within their means to undermine black advancement and excellence.


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