All newspapers in the world have editorial policies which its journalists have to accept. The very latest manifestation of this tradition is the New York Review of Books, one of the most formidable, intellectually strong media organs in the entire world. I doubt there is an academic anywhere in the world that does not read this publication.
Three weeks ago, its editor was removed because he carried a defensive essay by a notorious Canadian journalist, Jian Ghomeshi, known for violently assaulting his lovers and for which he was charged. Twenty women have accused him of sadistic deportment. In the age of the #Me Too movement, it is editorial policy of most newspapers not to give coverage to men who abuse women.
The editorial of a newspaper on a person, place or event is the paper’s position. We have an interesting situation where one of the Stabroek News’ journalists broke with the paper’s position over the relationship between the AFC and APNU in the power-sharing blueprint they birthed in February 2015.
In an editorial of November 27, 2017, the Stabroek News (SN) wrote a defining piece on the lopsided nature of power in the coalition government. It was a trenchant, sarcastic critique of the amorphous anatomy of the APNU+AFC arrangement. To grasp the power of the editorial, one needs to read some of its content.
Here are selected parts; (1) – “Not only did the AFC fail to put in place a mechanism to keep its partner in line… in the last 30 months there has been no real attempt by the AFC to ensure that even what was agreed in the Cummingsburg Accord was followed to the letter much less to comment critically on the behaviour of APNU.”
(2) “An early attempt to tame the powers of the Minister of State Joseph Harmon led to internal upheaval in the AFC which was a clear sign that it had no stomach for that fight and the capitulation was set in train from that point.”
(3) – “The AFC’s handling of the GECOM decision and others raises legitimate concerns about whether it is a real partner in the governing coalition and whether as an independent entity it can ever be viable again.”
From reading the three quotes, the newspaper is saying that the AFC has been side-lined by its larger partner, the APNU. There has been trouble in the coalition camp since it won power not only between AFC and APNU but between the WPA and in the PNC within the APNU umbrella. In fact, the AFC shamelessly hides its mistreatment by APNU whereas the WPA goes public with its dissatisfaction. The most glaring attempt by the AFC to curb the power of APNU was its press statement after its retreat two years ago at the Convention Centre.
The release called for the rimming of the many portfolios of the ministry of the presidency. APNU rejected that request. We have reached the stage of uneasiness between the AFC and APNU on the one hand and the WPA and the PNC on the other. AFC has gone in LGE on its own. WPA wants cash transfer from oil revenue to the poorer classes, a position President Granger and many other APNU ministers reject.
Here now is a sordid example of servile journalism from SN as carried in the papers interview with President Granger. The interviewer told Granger; “…You are now the leading presidential expert on coalition government; I do not think anybody comes close to you in terms of managing coalition government in Guyana.” This is pathetic nonsense. The coalition between the PPP and the Civic Component was far more stable and smoother that the current coalition.
From day one, the coalition was pregnant with potential nightmares. The coalition is so fragile that its ungainly shape has virtually decapitated the AFC. It is the opinion of this columnist that the AFC is now a thing of the past. It is electorally dead perhaps more buried alive than the WPA.
The SN’s own position is that the coalition has inherent problems so what success has Granger chalked up in managing coalition administration? The coalition is alive and the government carries on but this is not due to the leadership qualities of David Granger, qualities I believe he hardly possesses. If Granger is managing anything, it is managing to stay in power.
If the SN journalist sees Granger as a successful preserver of coalition regimes, then it would be useful to hear that journalist’s perspective on Prime Minister, Teresa May’s hold on her government. With each passing day, her position becomes shakier. Maybe Stabroek News should do an interview with her.
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