The Media’s love affair with Julius Malema

Jun 13, 11 The Media’s love affair with Julius Malema

Posted by in News & Media, Politics

Julius Malema, love him or hate him, is in the news again. Or shall I say, still. It’s no secret that the South African media love the ubiquitous ANC Youth League President, or as Floyd Shivambu, the League’s spokesperson likes to refer to him, “the President”. And why not? His near-daily exploits are the stuff of many an editor’s wet dream. Edgy, controversial and antagonistic, the man certainly knows how to get attention and keep it. And of course the kinds of attention-grabbing statements and publicity stunts he is now well-known for sell newspapers, draws in a readership and get advertising revenue flowing. Despite his detractors’ claims of stupidity and simple-mindedness, the evidence is stacking up that Mr. Malema is in fact rather clever in his own way and is playing the media like a well-tuned fiddle. Nary a day goes by without images of our favourite Youth League President being splashed across front pages of our newspapers and online news services, and while it may not be true that “no publicity is bad publicity”, the adage does bear some weight in this context. Of late, that context has been the widely-publicised hate speech trial recently concluded in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, which at this time is awaiting judgement. For those who followed the court case itself, and not the mud-slinging that occurred outside it, the debate inside the courtroom was rather important and as such has had a significant presence in the public mind. More than this, and in no small part as a result of the high profile nature of the case, the exchange has been of a very high quality and an intensity that would put many a Friday night legal drama to shame, thanks in no small part to the level of experience and seniority on display from the legal fraternity. Despite this however, the headlines we are reading include such juicy tidbits as Winnie Madikizela–Mandela’s pre facto proclamation of victory and posturing outside the court buildings or Mr. Malema’s own extra-court dancing, singing and built-to-be-headline statements. The actual discourse within the courtroom has seemingly been sidelined in favour...

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