The Nation Media which includes several newspapers, a TV station and several radio stations is no longer pretending to be neutral in the 2017 election. It has hitched camp with the ruling party of Uhuru Kenyatta.
The motivation could be monetary since the suddens sharp shift occurred shortly after Uhuru Kenyatta banned government advertisements from private media and redirected them to government media and curiously one or two private firms which had been giving him good press as well as smearing the opposition.
Throughout the whole of last week, the Nation Newspaper led with headlines that were either very friendly to Uhuru Kenyatta or clearly hostile to the Opposition especially Raila. Here are some of the tactics employed:
- Negative Headlines: The nation started with what can look like harmless and innocuous headlines such as the one accusing the Opposition of seeking to hack the IEBC. Reading the story however one finds nothing to support the claims of anti IEBC hacking. The story is about hackers targeting the Kenya Revenue Authority and banks. The Nation however finds room to focus on the claims of IEBC hacking. The story would move from being a mere conspiracy to hack IEBC to an actual hacking of IEBC. All directed by the Nation and later picked up by other media.
Note that attempts bhy The Opposition to counter the reports seem to be dismissed by editorial comment.
The nation makes a great deal about one of the eight local hackers and labels him “ringleader” without any backing. The label is attributed to “the Police” without any official statement from the said police. Professional ethics require that for the nation to attribute anything to any organization or entity, there should be verifiable evidence such as a statement, press release, memo or official verbal recorded or witnessed verbal statement. There is no such evidence to cover for the claim that “the police” said any one of the suspects was the “ringleader”.
To an ordinary observer it is just a simple journalistic error. However there is more to this than meets the eye.
For starters the Jubilee paid (but not so intelligent) bloggers went berserk with the claim. The fact that the man had a typical Luo name (Raila is a Luo) was used to claim that the hackers were in Kenya to work for Raila Odinga.
The fact that 6 of the 8 local hackers were from Jubilee zones with the majority from Uhuru Kenyatta’s GEMA tribes was ignored. If they were to embark on ethnic profiling why did they ignore the largest group? The Swahili edition which is widely read at The Coast Province was not left behind. “Jubilee Harvests at The Coast” screamed the headline.
The English language daily screamed:Uhuru shakes up Raila’s Coast Turf
The Nation has studiously refused to acknowledge that Jubilee has no votes in Mombasa. In its last prognosis, it listed several coastal counties as “battleground” counties. So why on earth would it suddenly call it a “Raila turf”?