DM168

LETTER FROM THE DM168 EDITOR

By flexing our inner Arnie, together we can all lift up and change the world

By flexing our inner Arnie, together we can all lift up and change the world
News Corp headquarters, home to Fox News. (Photo: Spencer Platt / Getty Images) | Pump Club logo. (Photo: Spotify) | Skittles, a fruit-flavoured candy, produced by Wrigley Company. (Photo: Yuriko Nakao / Getty Images)

Yes, mainstream media makes mistakes. But our goal is always to report the news as it happens without fear or favour. And when we get things wrong, we apologise and we try to learn from our mistakes.

Dear DM168 readers,

A few months ago, I started listening to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Pump Club podcast and, despite what my mother says, I don’t have Terminator-like tendencies. I’m also not a bodybuilder, so why do I listen to a podcast by the world’s most famous bodybuilder?

Simple. It’s five to nine minutes long and is packed with concise, properly researched, info about physical and mental health, eating and supplements, exercise and news about whatever Arnie’s listeners are curious about.

Of course, there’s an entire team that puts the newsletter and podcast together, and his editors-in-chief are two senior journalists, but it’s the description of the podcast that hooked me. Arnie says: “I’m not a cybernetic organism, but I do have an important mission to build the positive corner of the internet and lift up the world. There’s too much negativity online and I want this podcast to give you the support you need to become a little bit better … Together, we have the strength to lift up the world.”

Recently, Arnie’s listeners were up in arms about California “banning Skittles”. Because California is a Democratic-controlled state, the right-wing/Republican media (Fox etc) look for any opportunity to attack the state and several stories were published on right-wing “news” websites about California depriving its citizens of the freedom to have their favourite candy.

Arnie and his team discovered that California is not banning Skittles, but the state is looking into banning brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, red dye 3 and titanium dioxide from being used in food. All these substances are banned in Europe because they are carcinogenic (i.e. they cause cancer), and it’s illegal in the US to use red dye 3 in make-up, but it’s somehow okay to use it in food despite the fact that red dye 3 in lipstick caused cancer in lab rats.

Essentially, California is not banning Skittles. All the Skittles manufacturer has to do is use a different dye that doesn’t cause cancer. Now, you would think that people would be grateful for this ban, but in the era of mass disinformation a large majority of right-wing Americans only consume information from right-wing media outlets, so they wouldn’t even know about red dye 3 and the reasons behind the ban. All they see is a twisted narrative.

And herein lies the rub. Fox News recently chose to pay nearly $1-billion to settle a defamation lawsuit because it didn’t want to endure a court case where it would be revealed that its editorial policy revolves around lying to viewers with the sole purpose of enraging them.

So, when you choose to read right-wing news, you need to understand that it’s not the other side of the story and it’s not a no-holds-barred interpretation of events. It’s just well-orchestrated lies, which revolve around the simple goal to keep you angry and fearful.

Yes, mainstream media makes mistakes. But our goal is always to report the news as it happens without fear or favour. And when we get things wrong, we apologise and we try to learn from our mistakes.

It is also our goal to hold people to account and this week’s lead story by Business Maverick associate editor Neesa Moodley about the unfolding United African Stokvel (UAS) scam illustrates why we need to collectively stand up to anyone involved in criminal activity, whether it’s the state, an individual or a global conglomerate using carcinogenic chemicals in their products.

The UAS story is shocking and heartbreaking. Shocking because there are thousands of people who have been defrauded of about R100-million (this is a developing story and the figures are being collated as new victims step forward), and heartbreaking because this affects a range of investors from domestic workers to executives and single parents.

Stories like these show us that while we’re continually suffering the effects of government theft of billions through never-ending State Capture, we’re also suffering the effects of a spillover of criminality into the private sphere. It’s almost as if fraudsters say to themselves, “Well, if our government steals from people, why can’t we?” Well, you can’t, because we still have enough good people in this country who won’t let you get away with it.

Your favourite newspaper has a range of stories for you this week, including an uplifting story about Mzansi’s only gay choir, which serves as a home for talented musicians while also offering a safe space for its members; a story about Siyabonga Mahlangu, who runs a community-based organisation in downtown Joburg that provides support to vulnerable tenants being exploited by landlords; a story about how nostalgia for the future might have positive side-effects; and so much more.

Please send your thoughts and letters for publication in DM168 to [email protected]

And let’s all try to embrace that Zoroastrian saying of “good thoughts, good words, good deeds”, because we might just change the world.

Yours in defence of truth and positivity,

Sukasha

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.

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