Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Citizen's Julie Gichuru Interview Bungle

There are many Raila Odinga's apologists in the Kenyan media. One of them is Julie Gichuru of Citizen television. You probably remember her as the crying presenter on Citizen TV series on the aftermath of the 2008 violence.
Ms Gichuru
 But, let me start from the start.

In July 2008, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta gave an interview to the BBC World News Television. 

Kenyatta spoke to Stephen Sucker in Hardtalk show, an interview programme that airs in both domestic BBC and World New TV via sat.

 The programme often asks politicians, leaders and busines people very hard questions.

In Kenyatta's interview, after an introduction Sucker said. ''Uhuru Kenyatta, welcome to Hardtalk… I want to quote for you words from a speech your Prime Minister Raila Odinga delivered here recently. He said, 'we have been to hell and back'. Now, what makes you in government think that you are back?''' The story is not what Kenyatta responded, rather, what the presenter asked.

I am reminded of this interview after watching Julie Gichuru of Citizen TV interviewing Kenyatta last weekend, and a week earlier, William Ruto, MP.

In many ways, the interview went to expose the glaring incompetence and thickheadedness of some of the most celebrated Kenyan journalists. The bias and absence of interviewing skills were laid bare by the two interviews. Even worse, the two interviews were aired live.

Beyond her outrageous dressing code, which is not an issue in this blogpost, Ms Gichuru failed to get the interviewees to answer some of the most important questions that he audiences would have been interested in asking. If anything, both interviews degenerated so badly.

On 27 March, Ruto was being interviewed in the programme. Ms Gichuru clearly suggested to him that one good thing with ICC trying him, Kenyatta and four others is that it will remove some politicians from the next elections.

When Ruto responded that it was unfortunate that she had suggested so, she kept quet, implying that she had meant so. This is a wicked bias, considering that journalists should not show prejudice for interviewees, rather, treat them with decorum.

Ruto's courtesy kinda saved the otherwise ugly interview. Now, Kenyatta was watching the programme and felt pissed off. When he was contacted by Citizen on Friday to show up on Sunday at nine in the night for a live interview, he agreed, but was drilled on how to deal with her.  
In a sexier pose
On 3 April, 9.13, Kenyatta is live. (See video here He sat laid back, sounded rude and made faces. 

He was clearly disgusted by her line of questioning. But it appears he was just prepared to take on her head on. The interview was a mistake from the start.

He told Kenyatta that he has not been working, just politicking. When Kenyatta said ''if some people want to politick and not work, we can do that'', she responded, ''for the sake of the nation, can you give us a break, can you stop it?''

So in a way, the interview became so ugly. Ms Gichuru panicked, shaking a bit and Kenyatta took control of entire interview, not answering questions and saying what he wanted, when he wanted to.

It is clear she did not know what she wanted to ask. If she did, she did not know.

Julie Gichuru - who, when her baby died, publicly told colleagues she was going to have another baby to replace the dead one - represent a generation of mediocre Kenyan journalists who are education but have no passion for what they are doing. 

Or, more corrently, they have their own poltiical agenda to drive.

See BBC interview here

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry this is the time you have noticed how drab the Kenyan media has become. The media lost its credibility eons. Now, the ICC issue has become a lifeline to both Odinga and this media. They will promote him via their calls for Hague trials, nationalism, and branding the likes of Ruto and Uhuru ethnic demagogues spewing hate media. Of the course Uhuru and Ruto are not being wise by persistently bashing Odinga. As they intensify their attacks, the premier has gone quiet, not that he has nothing to say or has been subdued, but to portray his critics as nasty and shallow politicos