By Richard Murphy
Cable Network News, CNN’s caption for a five minutes flick it produced on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 incident at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria read like the title of a fiction and that is exactly what it is. The title is thus more amenable to being forgiven than the actual content of the video, which is a mishmash of footages that is intended to play on the emotion and milk a reaction of condemnation from unsuspecting audiences.
Lekki Toll Gate became symbolic for the still contentious incident in which people protesting against police brutality under the #EndSARS brand were thrown into panic as a result of gunshots, which resulted in pandemonium. Lagos State Government set up a judicial panel of inquiry that is still hard at work trying to unravel what transpired in Lekki. It could be that the CNN video is an attempt to sway the findings of this panel, but it did a bad job of it.
To appreciate the deviousness of this international broadcaster, one needs to get some background information that gives an idea of the extent to which it can be trusted. CNN’s only claim to relevance is that the President of its home country, Donald Trump, regularly throws shade at it. The logic by which the TV obtains relevance is thus that “if Donald Trump hates it then it should be liked even when it is grossly unprofessional”.
CNN is that station that created the stereotype of Africa as the continent of horror, persistently depicting the continent as a place of squalor, malnutrition, dictatorships and everything negative. The only exceptions, of course, are the few countries that are able to get them by way of tourism advertisement that keeps such patronizing countries in the network’s good books for as long as their subscription to that service subsists.
If CNN does not desire peace in Nigeria, as it has demonstrated, then it should not earn revenue from this country. Citizens can begin sending this message by notifying the businesses that run adverts on CNN of their intent to boycott the offending products and services. Banks, Telecom companies and other Nigerian businesses that patronize CNN should be made to take the brunt of this affront so that they can stop funding an entity that is resolute on plunging our nation into crisis.
Murphy is a security expert and columnist writing from Calabar, Nigeria.