MEDIA AS A WEAPON IN KENYAN POLITICS I.

By far the most effective branch of political education, which in this connection is best expressed by the word ‘propaganda’, is carried on by the Press. The Press is the chief means employed in the process of political ‘enlightenment’. It represents a kind of school for adults. This educational activity, however, is not in the hands of the State but in the clutches of powers which are partly of a very inferior character. While still a young man in Vienna I had excellent opportunities for coming to know the men who owned this machine for mass instruction, as well as those who supplied it with the ideas it distributed. At first I was quite surprised when I realized how little time was necessary for this dangerous Great Power within the State to produce a certain belief among the public; and in doing so the genuine will and convictions of the public were often completely misconstrued. It took the Press only a few days to transform some ridiculously trivial matter into an issue of national importance, while vital problems were completely ignored or filched and hidden away from public attention.
The Press succeeded in the magical art of producing names from nowhere within the course of a few weeks. They made it appear that the great hopes of the masses were bound up with those names. And so they made those names more popular than any man of real ability could ever hope to be in a long lifetime. All this was done, despite the fact that such names were utterly unknown and indeed had never been heard of even up to a month before the Press publicly emblazoned them. At the same time old and tried figures in the political and other spheres of life quickly faded from the public memory and were forgotten as if they were dead, though still healthy and in the enjoyment of their full vigor. Or sometimes such men were so vilely abused that it looked as if their names would soon stand as permanent symbols of the worst kind of baseness. In order to estimate properly the really pernicious influence which the Press can exercise one had to study this infamous Jewish method whereby honorable and decent people were besmirched with mud and filth, in the form of low abuse and slander, from hundreds and hundreds of quarters simultaneously, as if commanded by some magic formula.
” Mein Kampf – Adolf Hitler.
It is ironical that the most plausible explanation as to the behavior of the press these past few weeks leading to and after the elections are to be found in a book Adolf Hitler wrote. But over the days when the Kenyan society has been overrun by fake news and the populace been reduced to gossiping and whispering about what is happening and befalling our countrymen across the country, the mainstream media has done nothing to curb this. As a matter of fact, from Tuesday evening when the opposition poked holes in the electoral tallying system of IEBC, which as I write this is still tallying results, the mainstream media lost control of information. Media correspondents and reporters sent all across the country could no longer follow up information trickling from the various constituencies and forth. It was then that we lost the grip onto real information that the country had sat in front of their tellies to follow.
The media started statements with the gossip rhetoric of “he said, she said.” No one followed up on allegations made by politicians, IEBC officials and government agents. It was all lost to the public and the media was left to act as poster boys for whoever would give them something that would land on the front page. They literally sold themselves to the highest bidder.
Around this time of course, the media was used to put out a very large mass of patriotic content to the larger populace to program and instill a certain sense of patriotism in their mind in ways that can only be described as “brainwash” of the masses through the media. Truths were infused upon them. Words of the national anthem were played and replayed over and over again and adults institutionalized and their ideas misconstrued in a well-played political tactic. It worked. People became afraid of entertaining certain thoughts and was in many ways reminiscent of the tactics of H.E former President Moi where the National Anthem was played when there was trouble or unrest to remind the citizens their allegiance to the state. Countries have done it throughout history. The British in their colonies, German Nazi, America and so on.
They remind you of people worse than you and how better they have made your life been. Propaganda has been invested in heavily and it seems to have paid off. But it has instead resulted in a more divided nation.
Then came the distraction. There must be a distraction whenever propaganda has failed to capture the attention of the masses. In the case of Kenya, it was GitheriMan. A man who became an overnight sensation over a bag of cereal while queuing to vote. The press succeeded in producing a man from nowhere and showed people how much he had played in uniting a falling nation. But had he? Instead, people were kept away from asking serious questions and poking holes in a failing electoral process. In a couple of hours, an unknown man was elevated to a miraculous position in the public and Hon. James Orengo who had accused the government of grave things quickly faded from the public space to give rise to the new “celebrity” in town.
In the meantime, people were crying for the media to highlight the excessive police force that was being propagated in opposition areas with citizens reporting harassment and death. The media of course poked holes in the allegations as reported by opposition heads instead of doing the most reasonable thing and go out in the field and investigate the reports as made and either come out with enough evidence to disapprove the politicians or support the allegations. We were left in the mercy of the government and its agencies to feed us whatever truth they seemed fit. Information supplied by people on the ground and experiencing the events firsthand were dismissed as there was nothing save their word of mouth to supply truth. Say what the political leaders are telling us is true, the one hundred plus figure. This could go down as the biggest silent genocide in our country against a particular people and we might never know the true numbers because again, there are no bodies to stamp this number good enough.
Say they are lying to the public, which is wrong and amounts to treason and misleading the public, what implications will this have? This could bring an eternal conflict between the government and affected communities. It could read to war and in the words of Hermann Goering, “Naturally, the common people don’t want war, neither in Russia nor in England nor for that matter Germany. That is understood. But the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” This anger if forged by the wrong person with the wrong motives, it is a weapon of mass destruction to be detonated at will.
Well, we all know how the media has been a powerful tool in poking holes in the patriotism of people who have been seen to question the credibility of elections. They have succeeded well enough peddling words and phrases like #TusibleedNdioWalead #AcceptAndMoveOn among other words that define what a good Kenyan does or what is the most “Kenyan” thing to do.
It is time we asked ourselves why Kenyan politicians rush to buy shares in TV stations once they amass enough wealth. Each forges the media as a weapon against opponents and pushes his own truth into the market!
This political interference has reduced respectable media houses and politicians to highway robbers who will grab at anything to land a front-page story and appease their newfound “Lords.”
Well, we have all seen the troubles a certain journalist has brought upon himself over unprofessional behavior over the past few days. Let us see how long he will last.

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