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Analysis of and commentary on South African politics from a liberal perspective. Winner: Best Political Blog 2012.

Tag: Sunday Times

Zille, the Guptas and the Weekend Argus’s shoddy journalism


WeekendArgusFEATURE: This past Sunday the Weekend Argus ran a story which reported that the Democratic Alliance had received a donation from the Gupta family and that Helen Zille had personally organised it. It relied on a single source to make that claim, in a front page banner lead. However, that particular piece of ‘news’ was actually broken in March 2011, some 23 months ago – every, single element of it, almost word-for-word; and all the Weekend Argus did was disingenuously rehash and reframe an old story as new. It is an example of journalism at its weakest and the question now is, what is the newspaper and the media more generally going to do about it? Time for a bit of that famous self-regulation, one would think.

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An erosion of the DA’s liberal values?


InsidePoliticsFEATURE: In yesterday’s Sunday Times, DA national spokesperson Mmusi Maimane wrote an article which, while attempting to advocate against stereotyping, ended up doing exactly that; seemingly the reflection of his own personal views about ‘Africaness’, Ubuntu and the inherent characteristics of ‘Africans’. It is troubling and indicative of a broader challenge facing the party: how best to safeguard its core beliefs and values without pandering to ‘identity politics’ and group identity.

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The sad decline of the Sunday Times II


FEATURE: This is the second piece I wrote in 2009 about the decline of the Sunday Times. It concerned a story given exclusively to the Sunday Times, by the Democratic Alliance, which it turned down in a rather incoherent fashion, only for the story subsequently to be prominently carried by other print, radio and television media outlets. The question I tried to answer was: had the Sunday Times lost the ability properly to identify the news?

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The sad decline of the Sunday Times I


FEATURE: Over the past decade or so, the Sunday Times has suffered sustained damage to its reputation, as number of internal problems manifested in a series of external crises, most of which revolved around stories that were simply not up to scratch. In 2009, I wrote about two such examples, the first of which follows below. Essentially the newspaper served up a seven week old story as if it were breaking news, ignoring everything that had been said about it up to that point in doing so.

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An analysis of the Press Ombudsman’s rulings: The best and worst


FEATURE: Which newspapers in South Africa have the most complaints made to the Press Ombudsman upheld against them? In order to answer this question, I analysed all of the last three years worth of rulings on the Ombudsman’s website and categorised them by paper. Want to see who fares best and who fares worst? It is a crude analysis but, I believe, it does offer some valuable insights. For all the answers, read on.

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