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Criticism is fine, but media should not publish matusi

A recent opinion in the Sunday Standard about Heath Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha during the national uproar over medical interns did not pass the bar for journalistic standards.

It was in bad taste. It should not have been published.

Titled, “Doctors’ diagnosis fuels doubt about suitability of Nakhumicha to lead”, the March 24 piece by Brian Otieno committed many sins. Here is the list of them.

The heading was already misleading and throwing stones. Was CS Nakhumicha sick? No, the headline writers decided she was. And they “diagnosed” her.

Next, the story ridiculed the minister for having the “gift of the garb”, in a roundabout way. First, the story sarcastically said she was “not one of those people who can have their way just by talking” (paragraph two). Then, a jab: “Every time she speaks, striking doctors have something new to write on their placards.”

Paragraph four: At a KTN interview, “she wore her usual redhead and a matching blazer.” That is sexism. This is a Cabinet Secretary. A leader picked by the President of the Republic. What does her hair colour have to do with anything? Would we write about her male colleague’s hair colour or shape?

The writer referred to her as “Madam Waziri” four times. Each time it was derogatory.

Then, outright mocking: “Before Nakhumicha debuted on placards, she had been on posters and banners, unsuccessfully contesting the Trans Nzoia Woman Representative position.”

In other words, who plucked this failure from nowhere to lead the Ministry of Health?

The writer penned off by doubling down on CS Nakhumicha’s uselessness: “That’s as much as we know about the holder of two diplomas and a Master of Science degree, given she only revealed she was doing ‘something else’ in her previous life.”

That, too, was an unnecessary snide.

This article was partisan. It was petty. It was frivolous. It was noisemaking and stone-throwing.

Articles cleared for publishing should raise the bar in journalism. This one did the opposite.

The Standard did wrong, clearing it for publication. And worse, sticking it above the fold as “main news” all day on March 24.

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