It is an open fact that whenever a newspaper reports stories projecting the images of politicians, they are given the most positive descriptions, as if these papers had just fallen from the hands of the Almighty God. But the same papers make their report critical or even do critical analysis of statements made by these politicians or public officials, the worst of all negative adjectives are used against such newspapers.
This is exactly the situation of Senator Prince Y. Johnson, Political Leader of the National Union for Democratic Progress or NUDP. On Friday, March 18, 2011, the Furious NUDP Political Leader launched a stinking and verbal assault on the Liberian media for branding him “notorious criminal”.
Johnson, 59, paranoia until the outburst during his last Friday’s news conference singled out 3 media institutions, including the New Dawn. According to Senator Johnson, while some of the institutions were practicing honest journalism, there were others engaged in yellow journalism.
“We do not want the Rwanda media style here. There, they did a lot of things that led to the death of their own people during the rebellion,” the former rebel turned evangelist and politician noted.
“whatever you write here goes worldwide by way of the internet. Most besides, yellow journalism and I are related by way of being brother, cousin, nephew and sister,” the NUDP Political Leader comically averred.
He expressed dismayed and displeasured about the New Dawn’s style of reporting, particularly about him. “I granted the paper interview here in my residence, but when they left, they wrote all sorts of negative things about me,” he told his news conference.
“Well, some of us know how you are just hustling as journalism is not your real calling. Therefore, people will always used you to make money, but we are not deter as there is no bad blood between us,” Johnson insinuated.
In view the all of the allegations made against us by the Senator, we at the New Dawn make it emphatically clear that at no time in any manner and form did we publish stories and articles referring to Senator Prince Y. Johnson as a ‘ notorious Criminal’ as mention by him during his news conference. We do challenge and stand ready to openly apologize to him were he to produce any of the copies of this paper branding him as such.
Our brother must understand clearly that we at the New Dawn do not engage in any form of yellow journalism as him claimed. If the brother is not cognizant of the fact that by just declaring his intention for the Liberian presidency as a ‘ more formidable force’ he has become a major political figure under spotlight, he must just also abandon his ambition to complete his nine-year term of office as Senator of Nimba County, and not blame us for his political inadequacies.
As a matter of fact, all that we have reported about the NUDP political leader, including his ailment were sourced from his own National Union for Democratic Progress. For example, we once reported that he was about to flown out of Liberia as a result of an ailment from a stroke he suffered. While the former INPFL General continuously denied even though he allowed no journalist to take a glance at him, and only granted us an interview at his Paynesville residence confirming his ailment, he was later flown abroad for treatment. This, he told us also during the interview.
In a recent VOA interview, Mr. Johnson admitted that he did suffer a minor stroke and almost collapse, and had to seek medical treatment abroad, thus corroborating what we reported about him. Where then was the ‘yellow journalism?
When Johnson granted us an interview on the issue of corruption and the executing of those involved following his return from his health trip at the expense of the Liberian Senate, it was also reported. This was not manufactured information, but from the Senator’s mouth.
It is even an under-statement for General Johnson to suggest that we are just hustling because journalism was not our calling. Such an unfortunate statement just suggests who the man Prince Y. Johnson is in our society, especially so when the New Dawn is an institution blessed with some of the best and experienced journalists produced by the University of Liberia and other journalism school on the African continent.
Johnson’s recent utterance against us is just a show of his unpredictable nature and a reflection of his past, wherein he always denied whatever he did or said in the Independent national patriotic front of Liberia while in his usual mood at his Caldwell base, Free Port of Monrovia or areas on the Bushrod Island.
It is not our business to tell General Johnson what trust and confidence the people of Liberia have in him in view of the foregoing. He must behave as a Political Leader and change from his dark days, and not to continue to apportion useless blames on the Liberian media, including us at the New Dawn.
If Senator General Prince Y. Johnson claims to be a ‘ more formidable Political Leader and will not tolerate criticisms and the truth about himself and past for democratic judgment, it is in his best favor not to contest this year’s General and Presidential elections. We assure General Johnson and his likes that we at the New Dawn will never despair, but persevere in our commitment to reporting nothing but the truth, as we continue remain truly independent as a viable media institution in Liberia.