By Nyainda Manaseh
In a press rejoinder in 2016, the now moribund PSCU accused the New York Times of continuing its steady descent into the murky, rancid morass of gutter press, and had abandoned all pretence of journalistic decency in pursuit of the Prosecutor’s agenda.
The statement was released in the wake of a feature article on the New York Times – The President and the Prosecutor by James Verini – admonishing Uhuru Kenyatta for deliberately bungling the ICC case.
The heavy and razor-sharp diction of the press release was attributed to one Munyori Buku, the then Senior Director of Public Communications in PSCU.
He is the same man Irungu Thatiah hilariously describes in his book, “Hard Tackle: The Life of Uhuru Kenyatta”, as an archetypical trickster given to dressing so horribly that when on the streets, it was easy to mistake him for a cabbage vendor from Wanyee.
But I digress.
4 years down the line, the Star Newspaper perfectly fits into PSCU’s description. On top of the incessant editorial mistakes in their dailies, this paper has developed a penchant for screaming headlines but shallow content.
When some of us err on our timelines, we will be forgiven since our works are not subjected to the rigors of editors and fact-checkers. But for a paper that positions itself as a reputable news outlet, there should be room for negligible mistakes only. Or even none.
Yet, in its revisionist journalism fashion, the Star has tweaked its online version of the story from ‘Treasury has spent Sh 40 billion on Covid-19’ to ‘Sh 40 billion disbursed for Covid-19 response’.
The substance of the story canvasses other sectors where money has been allocated to, including MoD Food Processing Factory in Gilgil, reconstruction of damaged roads, and to university staff in fulfillment of the 2017- 21 CBA.
Since the sensational headline has found its way into the print issue, the only leeway out of this self-inflicted alarmist journalism is an unreserved apology on Friday. But at this rate, the Star’s libel and defamation suits may surpass even that of The Nairobian.
Our journalism seems to have been cheapened by the hiring of half-baked scribes holding miscellaneous certificates from second-floor middle-level cabbage institutions, ostensibly to cut on expenditure.
It has always been my insistence, that as a journalist, especially in a technical discipline, one must have a credential in their area of bias.
Why would you, for instance, do business reporting yet you do not have the requisite knowledge to contextualize an economic story for a layman to understand? Same extends to medical reporting.
And that is why KTN’s Dr. Mercy Korir has cut a figure of a thorough, in-depth, and knowledgeable reporter in the medical, and by extension, health field. She comes out intriguing, articulate and provoke thoughts even among the average people.
Not these ones who just splash words right, left and center, yet, they cannot distinguish disburse from spend as economic lexicals and break them down for us like children.W