What an absolute circus: Hartley vs Rossouw

DISCREDITED multi-baby news organisation IOL, stands accused of issuing an internal memo, allegedly illustrating the company’s closeted Presidential preferences come next election. The leaked document allegedly touts Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the best candidate for the job while labeling Ramaphosa ‘the tsotsi from Chiawelo’.

‘Operation Hlanza’, has become the source of good deal of controversy. It is the code-name of an apparent IOL media strategy drafted by The Star editor, Sifiso Mahlangu on ‘how the media group will cover the upcoming elections’. Details of which have been carried in several articles appearing on News24 and also Daily Maverick

In response, IOL group editor Aziz Hartley took issue with the News24 characterisation of ‘secrecy’ since as he says, the document wasn’t, wait for it, ‘a secret’. Which begs the question, if it wasn’t a ‘secret’, why didn’t IOL simply come out and publish the document at the very start? Nothing wrong with an editor expressing his or her preference in candidate, but getting an entire media group to sign on the dotted line?

Has Hartley not heard about press-freedom?

Harley claims that he ‘refutes the facts’, especially the allegations that his organisation was ‘seeking to topple Ramaphosa’. He proceeded to label the News24 story ‘a sensational piece of misdirection’ which merely demonstrated a ‘political bent’, as if he wasn’t bent in whichever direction is paying his salary?

Earlier pieces by group propagandist Sizwe Dlamini have gone so far as labeling the squabble the ‘weaponisation of fake news’. Dlamini who appears to be an inhouse provider of intelligence, has previously issued missives against other media organisations see here. Talk about calling the kettle black.

Group Chairman Iqbal Survé doubled-down once gain by saying ‘I stand by my editors’.

He no doubt still stands by a thoroughly debunked multi-baby story by one Piet Rampedi, in the same way he stands by the Easter Bunny? Difficult and near impossible to inoculate a patient after he or she has caught a disease, in this case a major case of editorial dishonesty?

Not one to pull any punches, or miss out on an opportunity at self-aggrandizement, the embattled leader, Survé took the time to remind us all about Naspers’ troubled apartheid-past, as if Medialternatives hadn’t been doing this for the past two decades?

Which is all very convenient for the ‘medical physician turned publisher’, since he only ever raises this issue when defending his own economic self-interest. Thus a checkered struggle career, whose political substance appears to exist in a total vacuum, necessitating supporting press releases from heretofore unknown ethnic organisations such as NJEJE yabeNguni Council.

I wonder how much that cost?

The resulting yellow journalism is really a bit of a media circus so far as readers are concerned — a point not lost on Wits Journalism Professor Anton Harber who writes: “Independent Media’s leaked strategy document on political coverage in the run-up to the ANC’s December elective conference reveals how the media house has cast aside basic journalistic principles in favour of serving narrow, personal interests.”

You can read Survé très bizarre response to Harber here. Anton may not have them gold Caxton cuff-links, but he does have a 35-year career in journalism.

Since Medialternatives has had occasion to draw anti-secular ‘fire and brimstone’ from both parties, we can reveal that we have also been following events closely, and can publish ‘leaked’ pictures from both newsrooms:

SEE: GroundUp sued by Iqbal Survé

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