The Media Monitoring Unit says the Guyana Times distorted remarks on the death of Courtney Crum-Ewing made by APNU’s David Granger at the Linden rally to “fit the agenda of the article, which to all intents and purposes, was to deceive from the ‘get-go.’”
The MMU’s attention was drawn to an article published in the Guyana Times Newspaper on Monday, March 6, 2015, captioned “Granger pushes envelope on incitement” (pg.14).
In the article, it is alleged that the leader of the opposition coalition political parties, APNU+AFC, told a large rally in Linden on Saturday, March 14, 2015 that it was the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) that had killed ex-soldier, Courtney Crum-Ewing.
After carefully going through the article in its entirety, the Unit found three (3) instances where Mr. Granger was directly quoted by the newspaper. The first and second quotes are found in paragraph 3 and states as follows: “I feel hurt. I feel wounded… Courtney was the first to fall” and “He was killed because he had a bullhorn in his hand…was executing his constitutional rights and was silenced.” The third quote is found in paragraph 4. The paragraph reads: Granger said he was deeply hurt over Crum-Ewing’s murder and pointed fingers directly at the governing party for the man’s execution as he told the persons gathered that he was convinced Crum-Ewing’s death was the result of the actions of the “rulers of darkness.” [Emphasis ours].
The Unit found in the above evidence that the reporter who wrote the article fallaciously construed the term “rulers of darkness” allegedly used by Mr. Granger to mean the PPP/C, because nowhere in the article is Mr. Granger quoted as saying in direct language that the PPP/C killed Courtney Crum-Ewing.
Based on all that has been outlined, the Unit’s conclusion is that the headline of the article was deliberately sensationalist, misleading and inflammatory. Further, it was obvious that in the accompanying story, Mr. Granger’s remarks were ingeniously distorted to fit the agenda of the article, which to all intents and purposes, was to deceive from the ‘get-go.’
The publication of this article by the Guyana Times Newspaper violated Section I of the MCC, which states that, “The media acknowledge that the deliberate distortion of reality so as to lead the public to a particular understanding of events and issues, without regard for reality, can poison the processes of democracy and therefore should not be done.”
The Unit also noted that in general news coverage for the month of March “APNU+AFC’s share of negative coverage in this section of the newspaper, was almost 8 times that of the Government, nearly 28 times that of the PPP/C, and double that of the Government and PPP/C, combined. Also, the APNU+AFC’s share of negative coverage resulted in the coalition overall, being the only entity to register net negative coverage.”