I felt very ashamed hearing Baby Ansabah speak about how he deliberately published fabricated stories to make the then candidate Mills unpopular.
Ansabah (whose real name is Ebenezer Ato Sam) is the editor of the crappy ‘Punch’ newspaper. In his previous job as editor of the Daily Guide, Ansabah was relentless in his reportage on how sickly Prof. Mills was, suggesting that he was going to fall dead in no time.
When he was suddenly pushed out of the Daily Guide, he continued in the same vein, publishing a lot of negative stories about Prof. Mills in his ‘New Punch’ newspaper.
Today, he confesses that most of the stories were meant to “maliciously ridicule” Prof Mills. He says his confessions are borne out of a genuine desire to “set my conscience straight”. He also claims that he has a newfound courage to be “bold enough and candid enough to accept my fault.”
Whiles I am tempted to thank the heavens for Baby Ansabah’s newfound boldness to tell the truth, one cannot help but take note of the fact that in his statement of confession he seems like a bitter man, with much of his bitterness directed at former President John Kufuor. Ansabah is peeved that Kufuor never took him on a foreign trip. He says after doing all he could to diminish both the character and person of Kufuor’s opponent, the former president turned his back on him.
“Why will a president [Kufuor] travel outside of this country for one hundred and eighty times or more and not consider me worthy of one of those trips?” he asks.
That’s a very interesting question and part of the answer explains why Ansabah is now spilling the beans. Ansabah has suddenly become contrite after President Mills inexplicably decided to travel with him to Trinidad and Tobago. It seems his newfound courage to tell the truth was instilled in him by President Mills on that transatlantic journey, probably with a promise that he could be on future presidential voyages.
“I am not expecting more invites [to travel with the president] but if they do come, I think I will accept them – presto!” he says.
When I first heard Ansabah’s confessions, I felt ashamed that I call myself a journalist. I can only hope that he’s actually turned over a new leaf and that he won’t come to us tomorrow to speak about how President Mills failed to reward him for calling Kufuor an ingrate.
That won’t surprise me.
For the moment, though, I feel ashamed and sorry for journalism in Ghana. You see, Baby Ansabah is not the only journalist who dabbles in falsehood to get in the good books of politicians. There are so many of them. The tinker with the truth, fudge the figures and fiddle with numbers just to make their paymasters look good or make their paymasters’ opponents look bad. They shamelessly get on radio every morning to defend the indefensible and praise the folly of their paymasters. They walk around with all sorts of titles – social commentator or managing editor of some crappy newspaper I wouldn’t even allow my dog to suffer the indignity of pooping on – and they hardly do or say anything without authorization of the political paymasters.
And what do they get for selling their conscience? They get anything from opportunities to travel with the president (or his ministers) to luxury vehicles to fat cheques and, often times, nothing – as was the case for Ansabah when he did the hatchet job for Kufuor.
They make the job so difficult for the few who have the genuine boldness to seek and tell the truth. Baby Ansabah is just one of the crooked journalists in this country who only think about their stomachs and care very little about laying the truth bare to help people make informed decisions. If President Mills travelled with the others, we will have a lot more of them singing hymns of shame like Baby Ansabah has just done.