The truth, the whole truth etc.

One of the prime values of the professional news media is something called impartiality. It is held that an objective and disinterested approach to the news  is the best way to prevent bias. But sometimes objectivity and impartiality just get in the way and you find that you, as a journalist, cannot tell the whole truth of a story while being impartial at the same time.
For example, here is an impartial BBC news report.
The Somali Islamist group al-Shabab has said it was behind twin blasts which hit the Ugandan capital Kampala on Sunday, killing 74 people.
In a statement in Mogadishu, spokesman for the group Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage threatened more attacks.
Police said the bombings targeted football fans watching the World Cup final.
You see how much is lacking from this report? If only the writers had been allowed to tell the whole, uncensored truth, then it would have been more accurate. As follows.
A spokesman for Al-Shabab, a bunch of cowardly scumbags  who, by attacking the defenseless and the innocent,  mock the profession of soldiering and blaspheme the name of the God they purport to serve, has opened his obscene maw and shamelessly uttered a confession, admitting that they were  behind twin blasts which hit the Ugandan capital Kampala on Sunday, senselessly murdering 74 or our brothers and sisters.

The statement was delivered from the safety of faraway Mogadishu, by a spineless hyena named Ali Mohamud Rage. We shall not demean the honourable title of “sheikh” by placing it in front of the name of such a disgusting rogue.
Police said the bombings targeted football fans watching the World Cup final.
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19 Comments

  1. And to think, i’m studying to become a self-censoring impartiality-humping journalist. sheitz. That Ethics teacher-woman wasted a semester on me!

    obscene maw. teehehehe. Spineless hyena!guffawlacious! Somebody find his email address. This would break the idiot-wuss!!

  2. Allow me to paraphrase Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mocking Bird)

    “If you want to know the facts of what a man is saying, take out all the adjectives.”

  3. Ernest,

    Much as I appreciate the emotions stemming from this post, the outrage, the pain, the shock and what not…and of course this is a blog(!)…isn’t this the time when the press should take the lead in not inflaming readers who look to it for information before they act. This kind of thing, in a newspaper, would encourage mobs to descend on Kisenyi looking for any Somali or Arab looking people to murder them in revenge!

  4. Iwaya, does Ernest say anything like “go pick a suspicious, pink coloured fellow and roast him”? You should know how this objectivity thing really restrains us. We are even asked to withhold suspects’ names, pictures blah blah mbu until arraigned in courts of law…that crap.
    We might be journalists/editors but we have blood coursing in us (or to spoil Shylock’s monologue–when you pinch us don’t we feel pain, when you screw us don’t we…)

  5. Don, the minute Al-Shabaab ‘admitted’ to being behind the blasts, it automatically meant that any Somali in Uganda would have to fear for their own safety because human nature being human nature, Ugandans would look for who to extract revenge on. So in writing this post (which is not in a newspaper by the way-just saying!)if it were in a mainstream medium in Uganda, it would have exposed them to retribution. Sometimes you don’t have to say ‘Kill that one” all you have to say is, “those people killed your father” and you know what happens next.

  6. Iwaya, saying evil people killed innocent chaps isn’t the same as saying we should also be evil and kill more innocent chaps.

  7. I usually instinctively jump to the defense of the underdog, mostly because it’s more fun taking on a crowd than it is a crowd taking one one hapless soul.

    However, Baz, had you actually printed that “truthfully partial” story, the Somali parents in Kisenyi who stopped their kids from attending school early last week would have had a lot more to worry about than bullied kids.

    Spare a thought if you will, for the Somalis who first came to our beautiful tolerant land as refugees from a war-torn society, and are now afraid to step outside their front doors!

    By all ways, lets go kick some Somali backside, s’long as ’tis al-Shabaab we pounding on.

  8. Deg and Iwaya, you need to read that post in the spirit in which it was intended. A bit of a rant. Exaggeration, not to be taken too seriously. I know impartiality is vital. I’m just fantasising about a place where we could let lose.

    But I have to comment on something. Impartiality and the avoidance of prejudice are vital for effective truthtelling in the media but not because, as you seem to think, we must be careful not to upset the feebleminded and impressionable and dimwitted readers who cannot think as well as we, the ones who don’t attack each and every member of an ethnic group for what one member said.

    On the contrary: we must never censor ourselves basing on what we fear the stupid will think or do. We cannot constrict our truthtelling to fit into the smallness of narrowminded people.

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