It really is better to be honest, stick to the facts and resist the temptation to spin stories around those facts when there’s no evidence to support them.
If others are to be courageous enough to admit they don’t know we in turn must not mock them. We should never condemn someone for being honest.
What needs condemning is bullshit and spin.
I don’t believe our Government has any idea how to get us out of the current economic mire. All they have is a bunch of out dated theories and models, that are no longer relevant in these days where none of the old rules seem to apply. Far better they were honest. Admit they don’t know but let us know what they are trying. Involve us and get us to support their efforts. Don’t spin and lie and pretend everything is getting better when clearly it isn’t.
Our Meteorological Office recently issued a longer range forecast in which they confessed to being uncertain. The comments left for them were quite shocking in the ignorance they revealed. My personal view was simply ‘Hallelujah!’. With a force of nature, especially one we are meddling with, this ought to be the state at least 50% of the time. (There’s no scientific basis for quoting 50% – just a gut feeling). The Met boys (and girls) needed congratulating for their candour not condemning.
The Great British press pick up on theories and press releases and publish them as absolute truths whilst voicing their moral outrage. Whether it’s a banking sector story, a medical news item or something to do with policing – all the subjects that are likely to invoke a fear response – poverty, health, crime. By the time reporters have finished their articles it’s hard to recognise the original report. It seems the truth doesn’t sell newspapers. Spin, speculation and specious prose is what sells.
Hey, let’s not allow the truth to get in the way of a good story!
I find that incredibly disappointing and more than a little depressing.
Perhaps this is why such a large proportion of the population appears to live in a permanent state of apathy. They’ve heard it all before and most of it has proven to be a crock of the proverbial.
My great grandmother’s death was reported in the London Evening Standard back in 1958. Front page news. A simple article reporting the fact that she had collapsed and died, suddenly, at home.
Imagine that same event occurring today. Chances are it would never have been picked up and reported at all, such is the level of violence in our society a late middle aged woman dying at home is hardly news. But if it were to be reported there would undoubtedly be innuendos about her husband or perhaps her two grown, bachelor sons who lived at home.
There may have been some suggestion about my great grandmother’s character. The story would include reference to the fact that her neighbour was a man known for his violent outbursts.
No, today, if such an event were to be reported it would not be enough to stick to the simple facts and admit that nothing more was known. A full 500 words would be required to embellish and polish a simple but sad event and most of those words would be untrue.
There are so many important things going on at the moment, that have the potential to affect us all, and yet very few of us care.
The trafficking of women and children for the sex trade receives very little media attention yet many more of us would be interested if it was our daughter who was taken. (Did anyone see that film – absolutely terrifying).
There’s rampant confusion, in my opinion, about the effects of global warming, carbon emissions and fossil fuels and a lot of this confusion has been caused by irresponsible and inaccurate reporting by the media. It’s caused by theories being touted as absolute truths only to then be disproved. Experts contradict each other. Nobody holds up their hand and admits to the fact that we don’t know for sure. We are uncertain but the likelihood is……….. And because of this, apathy rules in the greater proportion of the public.
And of course we have the current recession which in large part has been triggered by greed and fraud in the finance sector. Those very institutions we are supposed to trust with our life savings are those that have been fleecing us. (That statement is my opinion based on what I have read – if anyone has evidence to the contrary I am more than happy to discuss and see another point of view).
Speaking to clients and friends there is total confusion about whether we are really in a recession, what it actually means to be in a recession and how we get out of it if we are.
Despite the confusion and uncertainty there’s no apparent desire to find out more to better understand where we are placed. There’s just apathy and a blind trust that the Government will fix things. I think that’s a very dangerous assumption to make – I wish I had such confidence in our politicians and civil servants.
Now, politics is a very personal matter and I have no intention of debating it here. All I would say about politicians in general is that they need to start telling the truth, sticking to the facts and acting with the same honesty and integrity they want from the rest of us. There cannot be one rule of law for them, with all misdemeanours covered by Parliamentary Privilege, whilst the rest of us are declared miscreants for the smallest of transgressions.
The Wiki-leaks furore is a scandal, again in my opinion. Married to someone in the Armed Forces I don’t like to think of the damage that could have been done by these leaks. But, I have a but.
These things should not have been happening. The facts of what went on are a shameful embarrassment and now there’s a mission to shoot the messenger. A lot of what Wiki-leaks has done appears to have backfired, focusing attention on their organisation rather than rogue Governments, politicians and servicemen. It’s been a very clever manipulation – that’s an emotive word, perhaps it would be better to call it a shift of our focus.
I don’t condone the release of secret documents. I very definitely don’t condone what they revealed and I think the ensuing witch hunt is the beginning of the end for freedom of information. But, in among all of this there’s a young man rotting in a jail cell somewhere, almost certainly going to be denied a fair trial – if the legal process to date is anything to go by – and not very many people seem to be concerned about that.
Let’s hope it’s not your teenage son who is next on the extradition list for downloading something he shouldn’t via the Internet.
We have to start taking an interest, establishing the facts for ourselves (as our media has proven itself to be a disingenuous storyteller). We have to start caring about what is going on, shake off this mindless apathy that seems to have infected so many of us.
I believe we have to start calling out journalists, media companies and individuals who spin stories until there’s no grain of truth left in them.
Don’t wait until it’s you who is accused of being complicit in the abduction of your very young daughter from a foreign holiday resort. Don’t leave it until you are tried and condemned by the media for having murdered the very pretty tenant who lived upstairs.
We have to start asking for evidence when assertions are made, in fact we should demand it. We have to stop swallowing stories hook line and sinker and ask for the facts. Just the facts. And, if that means someone somewhere has to admit that they simply don’t know, we have to be OK with that, for the time being.
And whilst I am in full flow about this I suggest we also seek stronger penalties for those who obfuscate the facts and conceal the truth. Those who falsify or misrepresent evidence that doesn’t support what they want us to believe. Pharmaceutical companies, finance sector and others. It may be easier to do what ever you like and apologise afterwards. It is not ethical.
And that’s the rub really. Living in uncertainty with integrity and honesty and choosing to give a damn is hard. Many of us choose apathy because it is easy – at least until it is one of our own loved ones who is embroiled in one of these man-made messes.
As for uncertainty, we may mock, despise and fear it but it’s a fact of life. We may use stories and assumptions to block it out but the truth is everything is uncertain. It’s a permanent state, no matter what colour we paint it or how we dress it up.
We should never despise or condemn those who are willing to admit to being uncertain. They are simply being honest.