lindsay dentlinger

Lindsay Dentlinger: ‘The bias goes all ways’

Published by Andile Sicetsha

Reporter Lindsay Dentlinger is facing increased outrage after her first appearance on eNCA since she was accused of using racial discrimination in her work practices.

Lindsay Dentlinger explains ‘mask’ mishap

In an interview with JJ Tabane, Dentlinger addressed the onslaught that was levelled against her for supposedly favouring certain political leaders over others in her policy on face masks during questioning.

The reporter stuck to her guns, vehemently denying claims that she is a racist. She did, however, apologise unreservedly for the outrage her perceived ill-treatment of IFP leaders Mkhuleko Hlengwa and Nqabayomzi Kwankwa caused.

“I totally acknowledge the outrage and I apologise for the disrespect it has caused to people who don’t deserve to be drawn into this. I do acknowledge how it is portrayed. I am being portrayed as to not speaking to anyone black unless wearing a mask,” she said.

Dentlinger confirmed that a meeting with the IFP leadership is on the cards, where a more engaging dialogue will be had about her the implications of her unconscious actions.

‘The bias goes both ways’

For the reporter, though, the 40-second clip that circulated on social media holds a great deal of misrepresentation. While she admitted that not enforcing the mask rule on FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald and DA leader John Steenhuisen was an err in judgment, Dentlinger doubled down on the irony of the outrage.

“An important point we need to point out here, seeing as you are talking about race, talking about bias. I’m being called out to acknowledge my unconscious bias, but what about the unconscious bias of the people who have based this entire furore on the fact that they perceive me to being white?” Dentlinger asked.

The irony, she added, was clear in the way people generally assumed she was being racist “and not that she merely didn’t remember to tell everyone to wear a mask.

“People don’t want to hear that it was an oversight for me not to ask Groenewald not to wear a mask. He was my first interviewee and things are working differently in this time of COVID-19.

“Normally, I would have producers with me who would grab interviewees and make sure they are prepared for the broadcast. Groenewald didn’t have a mask on before I started interviewing him,” she explained.

Petition launched to have Dentlinger fired

This apology, however, has called on deaf ears. In fact, social media reactions indicate that people were more outraged at Dentlinger’s refusal to acknowledge that she was a ‘racist’.

A petition has since been launched, calling for the dismissal of the reporter. eNCA, on the other hand, has stood by Dentlinger, and refused to bend to the will of its audience.

Dentlinger also faces the possibility of being banned from Parliament. The EFF has written to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, calling for an inquiry into the reporter and eNCA.

Modise has yet to issue a response to the application.