Tuesday 15:00 – 16:00

Jonathan Witt & Roman Cabanac

 

RenegadeReport

 

Political correctness is becoming pervasive in our society and in our daily discourse. One simply cannot have balanced, nuanced debates about subjects like; race, gender, and every topical subject in between without them being protected by non-existent and anti-liberal ‘safe spaces’.

The Renegade Report is a show where we will speak freely and discuss issues openly. Topics will be dissected through the lenses of economics, philosophy, history and sociology. There will be no sacred cows. It’s an antidote to the cultural censorious norm that debate has descended into.

 

Renegade Report

 

Well known for his acerbic Twitter antics, Jonathan Witt is a doctor who has become progressively more cynical and annoyed with society. Jonathan is never afraid to express his opinion on matters even and most especially when they may not be the popular view.

Roman Cabanac is a fierce advocate of individualism and anarchism. He’s made a name for himself as a ‘vicious Twitter troll’ and describes himself as only being interested in good arguments, with scant regard for experiences, moral relativism or faulty logic. Feelings have little to no bearing in his discourse.

 

 

Podcasts are provided for private, non-commercial use only. You may not edit, modify, or redistribute the podcasts without prior permission from CliffCentral.com

 


 

 

16 April 2017:

Ideological Imperatives Trump Editorial Integrity

 

On Thursday, the 13th of April 2017, the Huffington Post South Africa published a piece by Shelley Garland, a Master’s student in philosophy. Ms Garland argued that the suffrage needs to be removed, claiming that votes of white men have created the “biggest blows to the progressive cause”. White men have apparently been responsible for Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the ANC losing four key metros in the municipal elections of 2016. Various other obviously spurious claims about land ownership, capitalism, and the fallacious Oxfam wealth report were made without references or the requisite evidence. They were treated as truth without interrogation. Ms Garland concluded her piece with the solution to the problem: remove the franchise from white men to wrestle away their supposed control of the world from them.

Reaction to the piece was swift and brutal. As of Saturday evening, the piece has had over 55 000 shares on Facebook. Sipho Hlongwane, the Blogs Editor at Huffington Post SA, even boasted about the amount of traffic the blog had received:

 

Sipho's tweet

 

He has since deleted the tweet.

Twitter user @PrisonPlanet, who has over half a million followers, found the piece and tweeted the following:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

This was subsequently tweeted by @RubinReport, host of the popular Rubin Report show.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The blog was mentioned on the Washington Free Beacon, the Libertarian Republic and Fox News. It was the gold standard of virality, a triumph of the click-bait phenomenon, and likely a resounding commercial success for the Huffington Post.

Once the piece went viral HuffPostSA editor, Ms Verashni Pillay, penned a response vigorously defending the publishing thereof. She lamented the “patriarchal systems” which have allowed white men to wield power and further blamed readers for not understanding the “pretty standard feminist theory” that Shelley was peddling. The defence was subsequently deleted.

 

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After the crowing and the ad revenue, the response suddenly changed tone. No explanation was given for the more subdued, edited defence of the blog.

 

huff5

 

On Saturday evening, there was a dramatic u-turn when the blog was suddenly taken down and replaced by a shallow apology. Ms Pillay offered a half-hearted mea culpa with a promise to bolster future blog contributions. She further announced that the matter will be relayed to the Press Ombudsman for review. The reason given for taking the blog down was that the Huffington Post could not verify the identity of “Shelley Garland”, and not because of its reprehensible content.

It appears that Shelley Garland does not exist. A Facebook search reveals very little. One would assume a MA student in philosophy would have some of her work in the public domain. A reverse image search of her picture only finds hits on topics related to her blog. She is an apparition.

However, “Shelley Garland” reached out to us, and sent us her original email to Huffington Post as well as their response (We have deleted the name of the intern who responded to “Shelley” as that is not of material importance).

 

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“Shelley” did receive the Huff Po FAQ, which explicitly states that statistics or facts should have a link as evidence for that assertion. The fact that the piece did not adhere to the HuffPo’s own guidelines did not hamper the publishing thereof.

 

faq1

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Moreover, “Shelley” also received Huffington Post’s Terms of Use and User Agreement which contained the following paragraph:

Terms of Use - Pic

 

It is abundantly clear that Huffington Post’s own terms were not met. The piece was objectionable, racist, and inflammatory, yet somehow it was still published. There was a fundamental double standard between upholding the very standards that the Huffington Post ascribes to their contributors and the behaviour of their editorial team.

Furthermore news organisations have had ample warning to the risk of false opinion pieces, most notably thanks to the parody Twitter account of @GodfreyElfwick who, last year, baited The Guardian into publishing an article which laughably claimed that prominent atheist and scientist Sam Harris is a human gateway drug to bigotry.

The crux of the matter is that this massive error highlights the all too common issue of ideological narrative trumping any editorial integrity. The Huffington Post chased the ideological  position and lost sight of the integrity and standards that are bestowed upon them as journalists at a public media company. The facts simply did not matter. The opinion piece conformed to their ideology and that ideology defined their position on the matter. Ms Pillay cannot claim ignorance or malice. She defended the piece vehemently and decried criticism as merely emanating from alt-right trolls. There was no further interrogation until 24 hours later when the piece was finally retracted following public pressure. The fact that she did not research the author or the claims of the author beggars belief. It is the prime example of a journalistic ethics failure.

If the piece contained opinion which aligned with a narrative but was discordant with reality, it would be assumed that an interrogation of facts would precede the publication thereof, not post-facto as in this instance. Systemic bias in media was a defining feature of 2016. The only people who, it seems, cannot see that bias are journalists themselves. The narrative must never precede the facts.

So, how to combat the scourge of fake news? The answer lies with the Huffington Post itself.

South Africa deserves better journalism, as does the rest of the world.

~ Roman Cabanac & Jonathan Witt – The Renegade Report podcast

“Shelley Garland” emailed his/her response to us as well.  The name “Nick Fannow” appears to be a pseudonym.

 

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  • SkepticSheep

    Thumbs up guys. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion. It’s about time there was a platform where one can listen to, or have a rational discussion about current issues without being branded with an “-ist” label of some sort , which I’m sure you’re going to get over the coming weeks.

    Looking forward to the next one.

    P.S. I predict a LOT of hate mail.

    • The Renegade Report

      Thanks Sheep!

      Unfortunately it appears that most listeners are completely rational. Not one death threat or Eusebius quote.

      How disappointing!

      Best

      Roman

      • Deon C. Louw

        Better get at it then. You doing it wrong. Even Mmusi Maimane is getting death threats.

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  • Ikhwane –

    If you follow the country’s trend-line, in a sober fashion, you will shit yourself and emigrate.

    Great show.

  • SlimSlang

    Hey guys,

    Love the show! Makes being a student at UCT a bit easier to stomach.

    PS: Roman’s fashion sense is on fleek!

    • MillennialMarine89

      Am I the only one who gets the urge to strangle people who use the word ‘fleek’?

  • This is 2017. Just thought I’d let you know.

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  • Malusi Ndwandwe

    Huffpo globally contributes ZERO to actual journalism or even debates. They are like that little ninny in school whose sole strength is incessant whining.

    • Russell Smith

      They’ve gone “Full Salon.” You never got Full Salon.

  • Aaron Anderson

    I would suggest that the only honorable course for the Huffington Post ZA Editor in Chief is to resign and find a new career.

    • Samuel Clemens

      People like that don’t resign.

  • John

    Um, can I just point out that Sam Harris is not actually, and never has been, a practicing scientist? Look it up. He got a PhD in neuroscience then immediately became a media personality. Even the quality of his PhD is questioned by Real, Practising neuroscientists. Sorry to burst your bubble in this regard.

  • Carl

    I’ve just unsubscribed from Huffington Post SA twitter feed and will no longer go to their Web site for news. We should all vote with our feet.

  • Teresa Williams

    Verashni Pillay’s racism had a miserable effect on the M&G as well – I’m amazed she can still get a job as an editor.

  • IAmSipho

    Somebody must now sell that curry muncher some credibility, she has none and never had any.

    • v_3

      Fighting racism with racism [“curry muncher”] is counter productive and just does not work.

  • Jesse James

    WOW! Way to go trolls of the world! A new Troll Hero is minted! And his name is Nick Shannow, the South African! Three cheers for the a-hole…..when I stop trolling. lol

  • Craig

    I’ve come to the long drawn out conclusion that Huffington Post, Breitbart and the Daily Caller all bat for the same team, and deliberately so.

    All try to instill anger, annoyance and even fear in whitey (both men and women) but simply do it from different angles.

    Ditto Buzzfeed.

    The fake left outlets also serve to demoralise black people.

    There’s a bit of an incestuous relationship between them, and a number of ‘journalists’ have moved between the publications quite a bit despite their apparent differences.

    Arianna Huffington and Andrew Breitbart were close friends and Andrew even helped setup Huffpo.

    Even Milo Yiannopoulos has written for Huffpo years ago with pro feminist views.

    I don’t think all the people who work at these publications understand their role and that they’re part of a very well setup media system to keep people divided and maintain white supremacy.

    One of the reasons feminism is used (amongst many, not all bad) is to ensure ‘oppressed’ white women are given priority over other issues and groups.

  • PrivateInstigator

    Well done on a brilliant prank, Nick Shannow. I make a point of avoiding Puffpo completely, but News24 occasionally fools us with an unmarked link. Shall avoid them too.

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  • moron1

    Verashni Pillay must be FIRED as a RACIST and given to her ilk at ANN7. This is not a first time that she shows RACIST tendencies towards Whites.https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a47d178c4832f1b8983a4af1e723fda8e612be30727654b1807fbca505d83fd4.jpg

  • John Milton

    Look, the problem with this guy is – pure gold, trolling HuffPost is a task worthy of Pepe – HOWEVER, the guy claims to be, like, all about individualism and stuff, but ends his post with “I have one last message to white South African males”. You know, because that’s us, we have our club. But then he aims it at everyone in any case, rendering this last sentence completely redundant. That is the problem with local libs that still claim the European inheritance – they put up their dukes but end up sitting on the fence anyway and then also verge on wallowing that same word soup that we’ve been exposed to from progressives for the last 22 years, such as ‘white privilege’.

    PROVE this, anyone. There is a class gap between rich/middle-class from all races/ethnicities and the poverty stricken and dirt poor, which is largely African. Apartheid produced wealthy whites – their wealth will be squashed in the coming recessions; young middle class members of society from all races belong to the banks and work for the man. I am not part of the top 1% and neither are any of my friends or colleagues, but if you run into Duduzane Zuma, know that he has more money than you’ll see in several lifetimes, and then wonder about that ‘white privilege’ thing you got going for you.

    I also don’t believe in a phrase that was coined in feminist theory, because feminism as we all know is cancer.

  • Dr_Zeek

    thanks for this article. helps to set the record straight, which is important for future reference.
    will subscribe to your show to see whether it’s as good as your writing.
    keep it up.

  • v_3

    I think response 5 (replace “white” with another identity) sums up Verashni and Sipho (the blogs editor) perfectly.

    While I find Daily Maverick increasingly skip-over material (one knows what their politically correct writers will say without having to click on the article), their rejection of the racist miasma does them credit.

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  • EnjoyTheDecline

    So these beta boys with their long list of what constitutes “acceptable” and “unacceptable” opinions have set themselves up as poster boys for no-holds barred discussion and debate. Right … I suggest they apply for jobs at Huff & Puff.

    • Vicky

      These two boys will never have someone on their show who can properly challenge them.

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