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Posts Tagged ‘media

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Following the flying pigs

I had a follow-up to my post on Managing in Africa.

My curiosity about the fate of warthogs that got in the way of a jet taking-off at Harare International Airport received some dry feedback.  Apparently, there were no pigs.  The plane ‘just’ lost its landing gear.

The pilot should obviously be congratulated for bringing the aircraft to a safe stop with no injuries.  The media should be following up the safety of that make of aircraft!

But pigs at airports that turned out to be flying pigs  . . .

A funny story that teaches us something about judging the accuracy of media reports

I was slow to detect BS.  That got me thinking.

  • I did notice that story was unfinished.  No one told us what happened to the pigs ~ or congratulated the pilot.
  • This is another example of how old media are only too willing to report the accounts of powers-that-be, even when they are in Zimbabwe.
  • This is another example of how old media are only too willing to regurgitate each others “news” without checking for themselves.

And I have lost my instincts for the truth of stories coming out of Zimbabwe.  I have been away too long.

We all judge stories by their narrative form and an essential player in every narrative is ourselves  When we are not part of the story, we will have difficult spotting inaccuracies.

Third parties are not necessarily good observers

Good accounts always have many perspectives.  Perhaps the first checks on any story is

  • Who said it?
  • Who repeated it?
  • Who was left out?

And above all, follow the money!

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We live in times when there is plenty to shock us

I have an old-fashioned habit of switching on the radio to catch the news.  It really is a habit I must break because the quality gets more variable by the day.

Today, a little tired from a full Friday night’s work, I feel particularly jaundiced by gibberish that is put out by the (frankly) pale, male and stale – with a few opinionated women thrown in.  The ranting is pretty bad today because some people in the establishment have taken abrupt status drops and are feeling pretty sorry for themselves.  Some have been around bad things that would shock anyone.

And we find out who our friends are

It is in times like this though, that we really find out who our friends are.  Our friends don’t egg us on. Our friends don’t invite us into the public domain to rant and rave and say the incoherent and often unpleasant things we feel in the midst of grief and in the grip of chagrin.

We need our friends to lead us quietly away to grieve in private

Our friends lead us quietly away until we’ve had the chance to grieve with the people who are part of the same tragedy.  Our friends help us sort out what happened. Our friends help us to think out the consequences.  Our friends help us to work out what is dark, what is untimely, what is embarrassing, what is unfair, and what just is.  We don’t want to do that on the radio.

We can be sure that we adding negative consequences to negative consequences when we rant incoherently in public in our immediate shock.  Our friends should not let us.

Can I COUNT ON you?

In times like these, I hope I can COUNT ON YOU to lead me quietly away.  I hope I can COUNT ON YOU to put an arm around my shoulder.   I hope you can COUNT ON YOU  to make me a cup of tea and something easy to eat.  I hope I can COUNT ON YOU to listen but not remind me later of things I said but made no sense.

I will calm down but I hope I can COUNT ON YOU to give me time to make sense of outrage and not attack me while I am in that state nor make me into a public spectacle.

And if you were not to be COUNTED ON

And if it turns out that I COULD NOT count on you, and that you did not protect me when I could not protect myself, then I know you are not a friend.

I will not blame you for the outrage that led to my grief but I will know that you are not to be COUNTED UPON.

In times of shock, please

Lead me quietly away to deal with my outrage.  People who were not there and who were not part of the outrage will only see the jumble in my mind as incoherence.  Talking about my confusion in public doesn’t explain anything to them or give dignity to my predicament.

Lead me quietly away, put an arm around my shoulder and make me a cup of tea.

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