South African journalists have taken to Twitter to openly send a collective message to the Democratic Alliance (DA) leadership and its members. Several journalists from different media houses related their experiences with the DA.
The message was that the DA will not receive special treatment by the media and will be subjected to same probity test, and other checks and balances just like the ANC and other parties within the country’s political landscape.
Talk Radio 702 host and author Eusebius McKaiser started the online venting session when he wrote that in his experience, “ANC and EFF politician are far more accepting of the right of reporters and analysts to opine freely.”
Fascinating seeing so many of my media colleagues commenting on how intolerant many DA politicians and some DA supporters are compared to other parties'. My experience is similar: ANC & EFF politicians are far more accepting of the right of reporters and analysts to opine freely.
— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) January 11, 2018
Cape Argus editor Gasant Abarder was the first to respond to McKaiser. He shared his own experiences about DA leaders, stating that the problem is far more “pronounced” in the Western Cape.
Welcome to my world. Far more pronounced here in the Western Cape where they have been governing both city and province for a while. A whole MEC once came at me for retweeting a story that involved her.
— Gasant Abarder (@GasantAbarder) January 11, 2018
DA MP Solly Malatsi offered an explanation for his colleagues’ conduct when the reportage is not singing their praises.
I think for many who were in government for the first time, the pressure that came with media scrutiny for the first time in their political careers made them lose their composure. For some it was down to basic media management inexperience.
— SollyMalatsi (@SollyMalatsi) January 11, 2018
Online content producer Earl September reminded readers that when times were good for Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, she too harassed the media when they were critical of her and her administration.
I was accused of being captured by the De Lille faction to write articles in favour of the Mayor, after I asked questions; similar to what Patricia is asking.
— Earl September (@earlseptember) January 11, 2018
Cape Town bureau chief for Sunday Times and TimesLIVE, Dave Chambers, supported Abarder’s claims that DA leaders were not above personally attacking journalists on Twitter, particularly Western Cape premier Helen Zille.
@helenzille actually deleted a series of disparaging tweets about me and @TimesLIVE today, when I pointed out that her thumbs had outpaced her thoughts yet again. Do I get a prize? I certainly won't get an apology
— David Chambers (@daveincapetown) January 11, 2018
The prompted Darran Nadas to explain the difference between DA supporters and fans of soccer teams.
Lets be honest the DA supporters measure the whole party with a different yardstick compared to measuring performance of other parties! You’d swear they were supporting a soccer team
— Darran Nadas (@DarranNMusic) January 12, 2018
Incidents mentioned included no lesser than DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme and a legion of supporters insulting a journalist after asking a particularly uncomfortable question to the DA leader.
Daily Maverick’s Ranjeni Mununsamy was ticked off by how some DA leaders felt entitled to dictate to the media how do its job.
And they want to prescribe how we ought to be doing our jobs.
“Why aren’t you focusing on Zuma?!”
“Why can’t you stop talking about race?!” https://t.co/iZFdt3oUtK
— Ranjeni Munusamy (@RanjeniM) January 11, 2018
Political satirist Chester Missing had raised the issue recently, and singled out Zille as being over-reactive to his brand of humor.
Politicians I’ve joked at recently:
Politicians who caught feelings:
— Chester Missing (@chestermissing) January 4, 2018
Former radio host and author Redi Thlabi shared her own experiences.
I did a show on this AFTER featuring ANC, DA, EFF & UDM manifestos.DA supporters most vicious, threatening & continue vitriol WEEKS after topic. They petition, lobby others to phone managers😂. ANC were vulgar & comical. BUT DA, bitterness on steroids https://t.co/wHUoTBZJBq
— Redi Tlhabi (@RediTlhabi) January 11, 2018
Bruce Gordon reminded the DA and its supporters that they should not claim moral superiority as they were just a political party susceptible to shortcomings and blind spots. Just like all other parties in the country.
That's because many DA supporters are absolutely convinced they are right, and all other wrong, and therefore any challenge to that rectitude must be dealt with by the inquisition.
— Bruce Gordon (@BruceCGordon) January 11, 2018