“The 20/20 special peddled such obviously fraudulent lies as the allegation that Mandela’s African National Congress was “committed to nonviolent resistance.” Not a peep was made about the fact that Mandela was sentenced to prison not only for “treason”—which is the only charge the show mentioned—but that he pled guilty to an indictment accusing him of complicity in “the preparation, manufacture and use of explosives—for the purpose of committing acts of violence.” Nothing was said about the radical guerrilla army he founded called “Spear of the Nation” that was linked to hundreds of acts of violence and sabotage. Nothing was said about his claim that “violence in this country was inevitable.” Nor was it mentioned that he was offered freedom from prison in February 1985 if he agreed to foreswear violence but that he refused.
And they certainly didn’t dare to show a clip of an ANC “necklacing” that’s one of the most brutal snippets of mob violence I’ve ever witnessed. Nothing was said about the Church Street Bombing or any of the other bombings and violent acts committed in the ANC’s name that in other contexts would have Mandela dubbed a violent terrorist. Instead, 20/20 referred to him with the much cheerier sobriquet of “freedom fighter.”