By Modibe Modiba
Jean le Roux, a Research Associate of DRFLab, penned a propaganda smear article that would make the late Nazi-propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, drool with envy. Medium.com and Branko Brkic's propaganda newsletter, Daily Maverick, published it.
The articles are a part of a series of continued smear campaigns against myself, the Insight Factor co-founder Thabo Makwakwa, and the Independent media chairman Dr Iqbal Survé.
The right-wing reactionary media platforms have made it their duty to attack those who do not subscribe to their views. Through a series of vile cartoons and well-packaged propaganda, they attempt to vilify those who do not conform to their ideas.
Over the few past months, a series of articles linking myself and Makwakwa to some "RET Forces" were released. They smear us at every little opportunity they get.
Jean Le Roux, in his article, shamelessly lies about "paid influencers and sock puppets (driving) social media campaign targeting SA banks".
In the entire article, beyond the useless colourful and fancy social graphs, he produces no proof, nor a shred of evidence about the "paid influencers", who paid them, and how much they were paid.
In his shabby analysis that is incoherent, Le Roux further attempts to tie Independent Media to what he calls the "campaign", completely discarding the ground events that triggered the social media engagement on the hashtag.
When the banks unfairly shut down the accounts of Sekunjalo and AYO, this was the main story that evoked a response from various sectors of society. It was a topical issue.
Organisations issued media statements and organised marches in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Independent media and other media covered it – and the public reacted on social media.
To suit his propaganda narrative, Le Roux ignored all the facts supporting why there was engagement on the hashtags he called "paid".
In Le Roux's world, black people are Jukeboxes who cannot think for themselves unless paid. Le Roux's logic is that black people can't engage on any topic on social media or any platform, unless paid or coordinated by some sinister forces. The racist arrogance knows no limits.
Let me remind "baas" Le Roux and the Daily Maverick that blacks do not need your permission to talk on social media. Black people do not need your approval about the discussion topics or hashtags we should participate in. This is not 1948!
In his haste to lather the smear, Le Roux does not tell his readers that The Insight Factor covered a protest march, and the march generated the so-called "spikes" on the hashtags' engagement. Our sin was supporting the plight of black people before asking for permission of the "baas".
Before the advent of social media, mainstream media used to feed us their cool-aid, one-way propaganda. Now that Brkic and his ilk can no longer control social media, they try to police it through smear artists like Le Roux. They try to strategically censor by persistent attacks, hoping that we will capitulate to the "baas".
The attacks that I am facing, together with Makwakwa and Survé, are delivered by Le Roux and Daily Maverick right from a propaganda playbook.
Interestingly, all of Le Roux's propaganda dressed as "analysis" under the DFRLab has targeted a specific profile of people. Those who do not conform to the establishment or the agenda of the "baas". We see right-wing media triggering hashtags, but Le Roux does not analyse those.
Utilising his biased analysis, Le Roux and the DFRLab attempt to legitimise propaganda and smear driven by Daily Maverick. Without producing a shred of evidence, Le Roux makes false and outrageous claims. The level of sophistication and propaganda makes Bell Pottinger look like a kindergarten.
For your information, "baas" Le Roux, it is not strange that accounts that follow me will see my content and then engage with it. That is how social media is designed. Further to that, since I attended and covered the Racist Banks Must Fall march in Sandton, it was natural that the audiences will engage with it.
Like a typical "baas", when Le Roux saw that we are not "baas boys", he attempted to use cheap propaganda smear tactics to discredit us so that some sectors of society question our legitimacy. You have no shame!
About a month ago, when the Independent Media exposed Daily Maverick linked bots who have been attacking Survé, Le Roux was the first to jump, promising a retaliation article and analysis. Little did we did not know that it would be in the form of cheap propaganda smear that is not even fit to be a dog's breakfast!
There is NO amount of smear artists, Le Roux', Brkics, Daily Maverick or self-appointed Twitter police that will stop us from expressing our views!
* Modibe Modiba is the co-founder of the fastest growing alternative media platform, The Insight Factor. He's a writer, a current affairs junkie, and a student at The University of South Africa studying towards a BA in International Relations.
* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.