The pilot of The Newsroom on HBO was an artistic, factual, and an ideological failure, and critics are not responding favourably. Particularly young critics in new media, the very content management and distribution method executive producer Aaron Sorkin notably left out of this attempt at an indictment not just of modern journalism in the United States, but of the nation’s residents. This episode felt at times like a long rumination on Sorkin’s loss of relevance, paired with bitter raging against the dying of the light (cheer up, Aaron, the sun will rise again!).
Western pundits and journalists sure are selective in choosing what does or does not count as newsworthy across the continent of Africa. Of course, Uganda is always a sure bet. Just look at all that international press “Kill the Gays” drums up every time it comes back before Parliament.
“Since 1994, our country has been facing an increasing threat of espionage because of inadequate provisions in the 1982 Act. The foreign spies continue to steal our sensitive information in order to advantage their nations at the expense of advancement of South Africa and her people. The ANC government may never allow such undermining of our national security to continue.” - Siyabonga Cwele
The week before South Africa’s parliament passed the Protection of State Information Bill, a controversial bill that would punish whistleblowers and the media for possessing or disseminating sensitive information, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele delivered a speech in its defense at the National Assembly in Cape Town. He claimed that the public had given significant input into drafting the bill and that the authors of the legislation had taken their criticisms and suggestions very seriously. He thanked the public, and the consponsors of the bill, Nhlanhla Nene, Lindiwe Sisulu, and Ronnie Kasrils. In presenting the African National Congress’ rationale for the bill, he invoked section 198 of South Africa’s Constitution, which outlines the government’s duty to its citizens in upholding national security:
Let me be the first to say this to you: Welcome to the American working class.
That was Barbara Ehrenreich, addressing the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism this year. In a country where daily newspapers are in what one of my own graduate journalism professors called a death spiral, laying off thousands, and TV seems to have given up the idea of doing journalism entirely, Ehrenreich’s warning might even sound overly optimistic. Continue reading