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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Manto Tshabalala-Msimang affair: on the responsibility and impact of the press
Author:Blatchford, MathewISNI
Periodical:The English Academy Review (ISSN 1753-5360)
Geographic term:South Africa
professional ethics
Abstract:It is suggested that in order to interpret a necessarily biased press, it is necessary to know what that bias is. However, sometimes the press not only refuses to acknowledge bias, but conceals the bias, and is able to avoid any negative consequences even when the bias becomes evident. An international example is the case of Judith Miller's articles promoting war with Iraq in the New York Times. A South African example, possibly less significant but even more problematic in some ways, is the case of the accusations of corruption and alcoholism made against Health Minister, Tshabalala-Msimang, in the Sunday Times, the most widely selling newspaper in South Africa. It is noted that in both cases there was a broad structural failure to encourage accurate journalism. In the South African case, the truth was not available (even though many behave as if it were) and few seem to have considered this a problem. It is pointed out that when it is impossible to assess the source of bias of a newspaper, it becomes difficult to interpret the texts involved. Such developments may be making the press less socially useful, unless intricate methods of analysis prove effective in overcoming the bias(es) involved. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]