Don’t Feed the Clown – A Call to Boycott Coverage of Julius Malema
Following the disgraceful conduct of Julius Malema during his press conference at Luthuli House yesterday, we have taken a decision this morning to stop any further mentions on the BlaBla Blog of this “little man”. This self-imposed moratorium will remain in place until Malema is removed from office, apologises to the public in general for his abhorrent and ill-judged utterances, and is unequivocally sanctioned by the ruling party to whom he reports.
Now I know there are those reading this thinking “So what? You are just one very small place, that only a few people see. What difference will it make that you stop talking about JM? No-one will care.” And in all honesty, you’re probably right.
By no stretch of the imagination is The BlaBla Blog of any significance. Our reach is small, our audience is limited, and our influence on them probably non-existent. Even so, we can no longer comfortably use the Malema name to increase our visits and page hits and will cease to do so with the publishing of this post.
The feeling we have is that we have contributed to the appeal and notoriety of the man by giving attention to him in past posts and articles on this site. After his tirade against BBC journalist Jonah Fisher and against journalists and the media in general, Malema simply no longer warrants our attention or interest.
We support the call to condemn Malema’s actions made yesterday by Yusuf Abramjee in his capacity as Chairperson of the National Press Club:
ALL journalists present at an ANC Youth League media briefing where a BBC reporter was called a “bastard” by Julius Malema should have walked out in solidarity with him, the National Press Club said yesterday.
“Journalists need to stick together. It is entirely appropriate to walk out should a news conference degenerate into a shouting match and should journalists be sworn at and insulted,” said chairperson Yusuf Abramjee in a statement condemning Malema’s behaviour in Johannesburg.
“This is not the first time that Malema has chosen to attack journalists and it appears to have become a trend in the past few weeks.”
This small protest action of ours will do very little in the grand scheme of things, we know. But if other “desktop activists” join together and commit to at the very least reducing the amount of attention given to this insulting, deeply racist, so-called leader it would help. We don’t expect everyone to completely stop coverage of him as we are – for some the hits he generates are crucial – but at least let’s make an effort to reduce his online presence.
For those who missed it:
The spark for this post was watching Julius Malema publicly berate and insult an international journalist in front of media representatives from all over the world.
Malema was demanding Zimbabwe-style land seizures from white farmers, and promising to keep singing a controversial song despite the ANC leaderships request not to so so. Malema was also criticising the Movement for Democratic Change for speaking out against his visit to Zimbabwe, when BBC journalist Jonah Fisher mentioned that the youth league leader lived in Sandton.
An angry Malema retorted: “Here you behave or else you jump. Don’t come here with that white tendency, go out bastard, bloody agent.”
Fisher attempted to respond, but Malema did not relent.
“Chief, can you get security to remove this thing here,” he said to staff present on Luthuli House’s 11th floor, the venue for most party media briefings.
“If you are not going to behave we are going to call security to take you out. This is not a newsroom this, this is a revolutionary house and you don’t come here with your white tendency. Don’t come here with that white tendency, not here, you can do it somewhere else.
“If you’ve got a tendency of undermining blacks even where you work, you are in the wrong place.”
Fisher replied: “That’s rubbish.”
Malema responded: “Rubbish is what you have covered in that trouser, that is rubbish. You are a small boy, you can’t do anything. Bastard, go out, you bloody agent.”
The attack was preceded by a general one on the media after Malema was asked whether he met business people on his Zimbabwean visit last weekend.
He charged that journalists were “obsessed” with him.
“You come here, you say we met with business people, meaning you did not concentrate during that visit. You know you are obsessed with wrong … sensational reporting and you are desperate to make profit and you’ve run out of skills and strategies on how to make money.
“You have become obsessed with an individual and as a result you have lost your minds. All of you, irrespective, all of you. The best journalists we know, they should be ashamed of you, that you can go all out to lie about an individual because you want to sell newspapers.
“You are obsessed and obsession is a sickness. You are sick because of the style of reporting you have come to follow … you are misleading the SA population.”
Later, he invited journalists who wished to leave in solidarity with the BBC to do so, though none complied. Explaining the outburst later, Malema said the youth league and its leadership could not be undermined “in our own terrain”.
“This is not a playground. This is not a beer-hall. Don’t abuse us in our own space, in our own house … this is my house,” he said referring to Luthuli House.
For sake of completeness, here is a clip form the eNews Channels’ report on the fracas:
Well Julius, you’ll be pleased to hear that we are not obsessed with you any more.
Bye bye Juli Baby. Bye bye.