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Daily Maverick owes readers more ‘polite language’ when referring to Donald Trump

Daily Maverick owes readers more ‘polite language’ when referring to Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Chris Kleponis / Pool)

A reader takes issue with what he believes is impolite language on the side of Editor-in-Chief Branko Brkic and Maverick Citizen Editor Mark Heywood when referring to US President Donald Trump.

After reading Branko Brkic’s “A Letter from our Editor-in-Chief” on the occasion of the bravely entrepreneurial, historic and welcome launch of the Maverick 168 pilot weekly print edition and Mark Heywood’s “Letter to American Voters” on 7 October, and each with their views on the US presidential election, I cannot, as a conscientious Maverick reader, not comment. 

These two editors are important, and thus rightly influential, and their opinions matter, certainly in Mzansi. In general, the often abusive language and insulting name-calling in the “journalism” around the Trump campaign are for me, distressing.   

As a Maverick Insider, who has a reasonable education; reads, thinks and tries to understand issues on the basis of audi alteram partem (hear the other side), certainly not to agree, but to understand: I read Daily Maverick too for its generally professional journalism.

In this world of acronyms, there is now a TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome), but it seems from the language used by the editors in their opinion pieces that this syndrome has moved closer to pathology and paranoia.   

It also reveals, in both cases, a serious misunderstanding of how US democracy runs with its powerful federal basis and its Constitution. J Brooks Spector, as a former US diplomat, does know better, but he is also affected by a good dose of TDS. I do not detect a paranoid style in his articles. 

Prejudice can be defined as being “down on something that you are not up on”. I prefer to be “up on” something before I am “down on it”. Both Brkic and Heywood distress intelligent readers by their use of extreme and pejorative language, and with their comparisons. It becomes difficult to be “up on” US politics. 

As examples from Brkic’s Editor-in-Chief letter, there are these sentences:  

“It is simply remarkable how the most gruesome cowards bubble up to the surface to become populist leaders who end civilisation as we know it.

“Trump and Malema both made their political careers by throwing rhetorical stun grenades into crowded theatres and then walking away as though nothing has happened. 

“They have used the poorest and most hopeless to advance their narrowest of political goals – the quest, and insatiable thirst, for power.”

To mention Malema, who trades racial insults and practises political violence, and Trump in the same sentence stretches credibility. His implication that Trump is a gruesome coward  tells you that Brkic cannot do a rational evaluation of Trump because he believes he is “gruesome”. 

Readers of Daily Maverick know Mark Heywood’s politics. He is 100% a Jeremy Corbin man and a Marxist, and to judge by his letter, also obsessed with race. 

What a relief that Ngwenya and Zille and the DA have called the South African political debate back to the pure non-racialism that Mandela famously enunciated from the dock in his Rivonia Treason Trial.  

Heywood almost certainly supports the woke radical left wing in Biden’s Democratic Party, and probably Antifa with its EFF tactics. He must be angered by Trump’s crisp condemnation of communism in Cuba, China and North Korea. 

Ben Shapiro, who is a thinking US conservative, also uses strong insulting language, which I don’t like, but not as strong as Heywood and Brkic.  

This is an example in this tweet: “If Donald Trump loses by double digits to a comatose 78-year-old career politician plagued by incoherence and logorrhea and pledging to enact the most radical Left-wing agenda in American political history, I’m sorry, but that’s on Trump.” – @benshapiro.   

Daily Maverick should set a better standard.

Like Heywood, I recognise the global economic importance of the USA to the world. I want to know what Trump stands for, so, while also paying attention to the “fine print”, I critically read or listen or watch his important speeches, especially on foreign affairs.  

That doesn’t mean I am a fan, but I can already see that the US economy is very strong and that Trump literally has changed the world with a rapprochement to North Korea, calling out PROC (People’s Republic of China) abuses of intellectual property and human rights, getting NATO members to pay their agreed membership fees, smashing ISIS, killing Suleimani, making the USA energy self-sufficient, bringing a fresh new dynamic and some peace to the Middle East. 

We know that the George Soros Foundation donates to the Scorpio project at Daily Maverick and that is a good cause. Maybe, although I doubt it, he’s funding the launch of Maverick 168

I am sceptical of conspiracy theories (“tokoloshe” in Mzansi), but Soros is implacably against Trump. He and Brkic both have roots in parts of eastern Europe, with its troubled history, but then Melania Trump also grew up in the old Yugoslavia. 

Let Daily Maverick be as critical as it likes of Trump, but it owes its readers more polite language (the excellent Poplak must be the exception to prove the rule for polite language) and better balance in its coverage of the US presidential election. It’s entitled to its opinions. DM/MC


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Elizabeth Wilson says:

    Graham, I think you are confused as to the difference between ‘news story’ and ‘editorial’.

  • Johan says:

    The choice and editing of a visual image to accompany a news article is also a giveaway about the subtext of an article.

  • District Six says:

    That was almost amusing

  • Coen Gous says:

    Well, read this article a few times, but understood little, despite also been moderately educated. Maybe I’m too much of a boertjie with more basic interests. What would be interesting would be to listen to a live debate between the 3 gentleman in question, namely McIntosh, Heywood and Brkic. Whether I would understand anything would however again be debatable, almost prefering the Biden/Trump type of debate (if Trump allows any kind of debate off course). If I don’t, I can always go back and read, and re-read, my favourite Zapiro cartoons

  • Dieter Meuche says:

    Isn’t it impressive when somebody shows you that they know Latin?
    To Trump politeness equals weakness.
    I do not see why anyone but a Trump fan would ask for politeness towards that ghastly individual in the White House.

  • Craig A says:

    Trump is a despicable human being. He’s a pathological liar, a cheat, thief, bully, narcissist and he has an orange face. He deserves all the ridicule and insults he gets. It’s not like he says anything nice about anyone! He has managed to single-handedly divide America like few others. WOAT.

  • Alan Hirsch says:

    It’s funny how some people are unable to recognise other kinds of racism, though they recognise racism against their people with whom they identify. I’m not singling out this letter writer–its a common syndrome.

  • Jeff J says:

    LOL! The inclusion of a Ben Shaprio quote floored me! This is satire right? Surely?

  • Lee Richardson says:

    I think this is the stupidist thing I’ve ever read

  • Greeff Kotzé says:

    He makes a fair point, perhaps, but then spends the other two-thirds of the letter undermining it.

    What on earth does someone having eastern European origins have to do with any of this, for example? Speaking of obsessions, there really does seem to be a lot of focus on applying to a multitude of labels to anyone and everyone whose name is mentioned in this letter, and categorising them into neat little boxes. Except for the (in)famous Mr Trump, perhaps.

    Not entirely unbiased, either, good sir.

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