POLITICS

The Insipid Insipid ‘#ChildrenOfALesserGod’

The NTV programme properly hash-tagged ‘Children of a Lesser God ‘ and incidentally aired on Sunday at 9 in the evening must have been that station’s ‘big story’. This I came to know by how it was highlighted for viewers: other than it being mentioned severally in previous briefs, the gist of the story was first given to us before it was carried forward while other stories were being broadcast, meanwhile.

Later on, after managing to secure most of the viewers’ curiosity and attention, #ChildrenOfALesserGod was re-aired, but this time fully. Claiming to be an exposé of security entities prior to the Garissa University terrorist attack, the documentary featured some families of the departed students explaining what they went through since they experienced the the irreplaceable terrible loss of their loved ones.

Also, at some points int the programme, some security personnel were speaking majorly on some key security breaches and blindspots that apparently facilitated the terror disaster to strike. When all was said and done, the news segment concluded, but of course not immediately and entirely before viewers’ views were sought and sampled for the rest to know the general mood.

Nevertheless, regardless of what anyone thinks or knows, in my my supportable view, the programme was highly unpalatable. A careful analysis will reveal this. In other words, taken apart or de-constructed, the journalistic piece falls apart. It becomes nothing short of sloppy, shoddy work. It is a sham.

To begin with, the title ‘Children of a Lesser God is evidently repugnant, claims a lot, and is out of line. Biased even. The story line, in simple terms doesn’t warrant the apparently blasphemous name. Yet by the way, if I may ask, who or what might be the lesser God? Who is a greater one in reverse? Did the Almighty God suddenly become weak because some people fell victim to terrorist destruction? And before going too far, that is an atheistic title at its best.

Other issues that were apparent and not quite so apparent in the ‘text’ included the wild assumption that the students were attacked because they were poor. The most apt refutation is that calamity knows no bounds, or much more aptly, catastrophé is no respecter of persons.

It is also unacceptable to grossly imply that it is only the less privileged that genuinely feel loss and grief. The rebuttal is, once more, pain is no respecter of persons.

Other warranted claims: nothing was exposed by the ‘investigative story’. The ‘facts’ and even rumours are well in the public domain. What happened or didn’t happen is now common knowledge. Therefore the story is dead. I ‘killed’ it once I ascertained facts and information controverting the assumption that the programme was an exposé (a revelation) of some sort.

Moreover, #ChildrenOfALesserGod reeks of insensitivity to the bereaved. Interviewing them every now and then in the name of ‘follow-ups’ only serves to trigger and fester the memories of the worst that ever befell them. The story obviously did more harm than good. Yet an ethically journalistic practice is to “minimize harm”. Did they? I mean take caution? Apparently, the producers did throw caution to the wind on what would serve quite negligible public good.

In connection with the immediately above contention, I would say that the prime time story did not achieve the ‘greatest happiness’, an ethical journalistic principle. In full, the Greatest Happiness Principle(GHP) calls on journalists to produce works that promote only “the greatest happiness of the greatest number of those affected.” This true for all it is worth.

Eventually, it becomes much more worthwhile to venture that keen Kenyans must have discovered— sooner or later—that there were stories in the bulletin that were more important than #ChildrenOfALesserGod. More ‘newsworthy’ to be exact. Hence it was an unapologetic insult to their intelligence to depict, so to speak, what was not there.

The story in question —in a word—wasted my precious time, ‘wasted’ my attention, and gravely misled me. The producers should have known better than to make such an esteem-wrecking (though lucrative for them) story.

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