News is about people, not goats

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What happens when a newspaper cares more about goats than people?

Too often you find the journalists bleating about non-stories that have little connection with reality.

When the whole country is burning, with stories crying to be written, as one of my former editors would say, it is treasonous for a journalist to fail to report some of these things.

Such journalists can see a tree but not the forest.

News is surely about people.

Were we not taught in elementary journalism school what news is?

Stories must be closer to the people.

There must be an element of how what we report affects people.

Now you can imagine the shock on my face when I was hit by this headline
about goats in one of those weekly newspapers.

Happy goats produce more, screamed the paper on its front page last week.

Scrutator wept.

Even for an agricultural society such as ours, our colleagues across town are taking the principle of bringing news that is closer to the people a bit far.

Who cares whether goats, sheep and cats produce more?

But this is what often happens when a newspaper cares more about goats than people.

Scrutator will leave you with this gem of a quotation from the same weekly.

What gave Mafura (Forestry Minister Kabelo Mafura) to score points with those who attended the ceremony was a sharing of tasks to award the winners with not only his cabinet fellows but with a principal chief which is not common.”

Any clue what this means?

Did you say that minister?

Well, Scrutator is offering a hefty award to anybody who can successfully unpack this sentence.

The English say little knowledge is very dangerous.

The reason is very simple.

Imagine the harm quack doctors would cause if they are unleashed on society!

There will be total chaos and gnashing of teeth in operating theatres.

Scrutator is not surprised that there are also people who read newspapers and pretend to know things they don’t know.

Take for instance one woman, (circumstantial evidence shows she is a woman, and is well-known to Scrutator) who has no guts to provide her full name and goes by the false moniker Lefefooane.

“At first I thaught (sic) this moron was putting up matters for debate only to learn later that she has a personal vendetta against NUL, Lefefooane says.

“Sadly, though, her grammer (sic) is so bad that she continues to use conjunctions like ‘but’, ‘because’, ‘and’ etc to begin sentences”.

“How on earth can you write a newspaper article like a ppoem (sic) with every sentence making its own line yet you continue to tell us how bad NUL is?”

This proud daughter from Qacha’s Nek will not respond to Lefefooane’s xenophobic diatribes.

This girl is too smart for that.

While at university some years ago, Scrutator read a bit of Linguistics which, by the way, has two main branches – sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics.

How I miss those good old days!

She happily went through courses in phonology, phonetics and morphology and other such intriguing stuff.

The course was an eye-opener.

Based on what she studied, Scrutator dumped all what she was taught in primary school about the so-called rules of grammar.

She no longer subscribes to the old school of prescriptive grammar.

“You cannot start a sentence with a conjunction like ‘But’,” Lefefooane argues.

Well, my advice is that first learn to spell properly before you seek to delve into a subject that you know not.

For further debate on this matter Scrutator will do her civic duty by referring Lefefooane to the classic text, The Story of English, written by Robert McCrum and Robert MacNeil.

Scrutator is intrigued by the shocking naivety of newly-elected Basotho National Party (BNP) leader Thesele ’Maseribane.

On Monday, fresh from being elected to the fading former giant party’s top post, ’Maseribane gathered the media at his Maseru headquarters to inform journalists how cracks that have dogged his organisation for decades have become “a thing of the past”.

“The fact that we were also able to resolve our differences amicably as the conference commenced is a clear sign that we’re going to local government and general elections as a united force.

“The issue of divisive camps is no more,” ’Maseribane said.

Really?

We are adults, ntate!

But while he was saying these “sweet nothings”, the party’s former publicity secretary Majara Molapo was preparing to have his case heard in court.

Molapo is alleging that the whole election process was a farce and wants the court to overturn the result which saw ’Maseribane being elected president.

Is this a sign of a “united force”?

And why did ’Maseribane forget to tell the media about the parallel committees
emerging in BNP structures countrywide that led to a five-hour delay of the conference?

Why were the police forced to beef up security because of threats of violence against delegates by disgruntled members?

A party riddled by leadership squabbles, all of a sudden becoming one united
entity?

Even the church has its own squabbles about condom use and gay rights!

Scrutator can only come to one conclusion – either this man is living in cuckoo land or he has developed a common disease among politicians – selective amnesia.

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