A couple of weeks later, our press has woken up to the shocking realisation that there is more to the story of Westgate than they were being given by the government. Gasp! They are now engaging in what they consider investigative journalism, digging up random CCTV footage exposing what really went on in the mall. Good plan, no? No. Seems they all went to investigate at the same place, and found exactly the same thing. For all their claims of information gathering, all these buggers showed us the same CCTV clips. Some added sound effects, some looped specific portions, some even drew circles around the rummaging soldiers, just so we wouldn’t miss the rummaging, but for all the noise they were making about their exclusive clips, they were all showing us the same bloody thing.
Don’t believe me? Watch for yourself and compare...
First to release footage was...shock on us...CNN. Now how the Americans got this footage before our guys did is beyond me, but hey, let's not look this gift horse in its imperialist mouth, no? Kenya mall attackers prayed, talked on cell phone between shootings. They claimed that the reason for them showing us the 'graphic footage' was because, "there are few opportunities for the public to fully understand what happened..."
Then came...again, shock on us...K24. These special buggers managed to scoop all the other media houses, at least as far as I can tell. K24 Investigates: Westgate Siege Unravelled. These buggers had serious sound effects, yawa, you'd think it was a movie. That the guy wasn’t actually saying anything of maana is immaterial. That they also showed more blood than everyone else was also immaterial. They were first. Well, second, but first locally. Well, second, after The Star, but The Star had no pictures so they were first. Woobloodyhoo!
Citizen TV, took the time to string together a time-line of sorts, but for some reason they don’t seem to have done an in depth investigation (read, 15 minutes of rambling interspersed with random images. See above, and below). They were content to report what CNN had reported, Terrorists in Action. Then they reverted back to type, and decided to report tweets, again, because viewer feedback from their mafans is what's really important. Spoils Of War: If The KDF Did Not Loot, Who Did?
NTV, having learnt a lesson from the cover photo débâcle over at the Sunday Nation, went out of their way not to show any blood, tactfully blurring the shooting of the guard at the entrance of Nakumatt. Again, as with the others, they selectively edited their clips to show not much more than everyone else was showing. Chilling CCTV footage shows 4 attackers invading Westgate Mall and CCTV footage shows KDF soldiers ransacking shops at the Westgate. 'Chilling!' they said. 'Not any more,' we said, having seen it all before. Incidentally, 'ransacking shops' implies more than rifling through a counter. Just saying.
And then came the mother, KTN and their in depth reports. Slight detour, do they go out of their way to name these things to sound like D-rated movies? Why must they always be so overdone? The wolves of Westgate? Really? Moving right along. The super reporters of KTN...no NTV...no KTN again, they went behind the scenes to uncover the truth. Almost one hour long, their expose uncovered...stuff we had seen and heard before. In fairness, theirs is a magazine format and their scope is broader, and they went out of their way to get first hand accounts, featuring valuable interviews with those unfortunately caught up in the attack. They also sought input from a security specialist, the value of which we are yet to verify. Ah yes, they also interviewed the MD of Nakumatt. In between making claims of escape via Peponi Road, claims that have also not been substantiated, they sought to investigate the allegations that there were 10-15 attackers, and by investigate I mean disprove. Yet somehow, for all the talk, they didn’t manage to reveal any more footage than that which we had already seen on other stations, save for brief clips of two soldiers in the jewellery store, apparently intact as late as Monday. They then went on to 'investigate' the planning of the attack, but that was a brief interlude, a token gesture. They quickly went back to the footage and pictures we have already seen, all accompanied by insinuating commentary, hopefully informed by more than what we've read on The Guardian.
Which brings me to the point of today's rant. Given that they all repeatedly told us there are hours upon hours of footage, most 'too gruesome to show you', why is it everyone is showing us the same clips? Is this a deliberate attempt by our media to frame one particular narrative?
Take the much talked about KDF looting. Every station has shown the clip of the soldiers walking out with paper bags, and plucking boxes from the stand/counter at the entrance. Is that it? Is that the damning proof? If it is, then we have more serious problems, my friends, apart from our soldiers of possibly ill-repute. The press is trying to convince us that there are things they cannot show us, because they are too graphic, yet they were happy to show us a man writhing in his blood, getting shot repeatedly? Then what are they not showing us? If they really have hours of footage, as they claim they have, then they need to start showing us more than the pre-approved CNN ready stuff they're throwing at us. I expect that several media houses in competition with each other would be looking to outdo each other, trying to release 'previously unseen' footage. Not so, unfortunately. These geniuses are simply replicating what the other is doing, changing the sound effects for dramatic effect, and then reading a couple of reaction tweets.
Investigate? Uncover? Tell the fucking story, the whole story and not just the bits you copy from someone else, or the bits someone hands you on a platter? Noooo... That would be too much like real journalism and we now know they have no interest in that.
I understand that there are questions regarding looting and KDF, but we have to ask ourselves, why is the media is so keen to point fingers at the soldiers and the looting that happened after the attack? I know this sounds like a silly conspiracy theory, but I'm of the opinion that our mainstream press has been acting like a government mouthpiece lately, and throughout this period they too fell asleep at the wheel. They dropped the ball, spectacularly, but rather than admit it, they would have our anger directed at others. That's fine, understandable even, but while they redirect my anger, I shall be directing my money too. Folks, I started buying The Star this month, so there!