There are many things that require the attention of the news press. Children, for example, continue to suffer at the hands of their teachers, caregivers and parents. Recent months have borne witness to the cruelties inflicted on our young ones by those who have, or should have, a sworn duty to keep them safe from such cruelties. Also, for those who care to pay attention, young women have died at the hands of their intimate partners. Many have been murdered in their homes and the perpetrators of the crimes have been allowed to get away with murder.
Rather than report comprehensively on the death and injuries visited on the vulnerable, the news press has paid overwhelming attention to the shenanigans of a five-times failed presidential candidate and his entourage. This is nothing new. Not even further proof that newsmen are now part and parcel of his entourage has come as a surprise. Editors and their predecessors see nothing shamefaced in admitting that they are on the payrolls of political belligerents, and have consigned news reporting to the ash heap of history.
It would make sense if Kenyans still bought newspapers or generated enough advertising revenue from watching Kenyan news programmes. But they don't. Instead, Kenyans, the vast majority of them being young or youthful, eschew reporting of any kind and instead rely on entertainment programmes (morning sex talk shows are particularly popular) for their news. Maina and King'ang'i in the morning and their ilk are the current stars of news journalism, shaping political ideologies amidst the salacious sexcapades they have to offer. You only need to listen to the likes of the Leaders of the Majority Party to get a sense of what they consider newsworthy political decision-making.
When a "seasoned" former news editor, long after he ceased to shape opinion in his newspaper's Op-Ed pages, is still offered a byline to write reckless screeds where he equates Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first and only president-for-life, to the slave-owning George Washington, and casting the land-grabbing of the former and the slave-owning of the latter as neither here nor there, you know that the news press has stopped thinking of itself as the conscience of the nation and has, instead, become the whore house of dead ideas. It doesn't matter whether it is the legacy press or the upstart new media organisations that are plying their trade, the journalism on offer is no longer intended to inform, educate and entertain, in that order, but to is meant to camouflage the deep structural infirmities in the body politic that continue to be hollowed out by a corrupt political class with the connivance of a corrupt news media corporatocracy.
What gets shoved to the sidelines, ignored or buried, are the petty indignities and life-shattering abuses Kenyans have to endure at the hands of the political classes and the state institutions at their command. Children, who must be protected, nurtured and encouraged, have become regular targets of the state (young Baby Pendo is one of thousands of victims) either through actual state-sanctioned violence, or official neglect (Junior Secondary School fiascos are just the latest iteration of state apathy). It is the soul of this nation that is endangered because news editors think being cute about slave-owning and land-grabbing is the height of original thinking.