Media duty to enquire if lifestyle fits the message

2011-07-23 09:09

The concern regarding conspicuous consumption in a nation where abject poverty is rife is well documented.

It is also well known that the 1994 dispensation created a new class of moneyed individuals ready to display their newly found wealth.

What 1994 did was to add to a class of those happy to display their opulence. It did not create that class. It is, therefore, neither new nor a race-based affliction.

Crass materialism is colour-blind.

Too often though the condemnation of crassness has been turned into a race issue. As with patriotism, race nationalism has become the last refuge of scoundrels and those incapable of providing a better argument.

We anticipate there will be those who, instead of reading the merits of our lead story, would rather settle for the convenience of reducing the actors to their race or class.

They will tell you that the poor are not so narrow-minded that they only want to be led by the other poor. We do not necessarily have a problem with this proposition.

What we have a problem with is the recurring, but baseless and false accusation that anyone who questions the display of opulence does so because they are opposed to the idea of wealthy black people.

Let us make another point clear: we are making no accusations of criminality or wrongdoing. If such allegations exist, the state has the relevant agencies competent to pursue these matters as and when required.

In fact, we are not even making accusations of crass materialism or public display of opulence. What we are saying is that lies, inconsistencies and hypocrisy know no race boundaries.

They simply have to be challenged wherever they may rear their heads.

When we put ourselves on a pedestal as champions of one course or another, we inevitably open ourselves for public scrutiny and also to whether we practise what we preach.

It is a principle that is as old as public lies.

So it becomes a public business, and therefore the media’s duty to establish whether those who make certain public pronouncements have lifestyles that tally with their message.

If they do not, it is for their followers to decide whether theirs is a false prophet or a misunderstood genius.

Regarding our responsibilities to you, dear reader, we have done our part. The facts are there for all to see.

We trust that you will make of them what you will.

One thing we do ask for is that you do not allow yourself and your judgment to be clouded by those who refuse to avail themselves for public scrutiny or who claim to speak on ­behalf of the masses while insisting on finding a ­racist ­under every rock.

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