If I may put it more bluntly, I would consider it
downright intellectually dishonest for my president to generalize his own
“domain-specific” issues to the membership of the Union and seek to use that as
a platform to fight his own personal war.
In my opinion, I thought it was “déclassé” for the POM to
take his case to the MBC airwaves and to tear legal papers served on him during
a live TV broadcast. I'm even more perturbed by the fact that the management of
MBC has not issued a clarifying statement in the way that ChoiceTV did in
respect of Tim. In my view, it was not proper journalistic conduct to show such
utter and extreme disgust for another fellow media colleague during a live TV
broadcast and to play the same on a subsequent news broadcast.
The emerging philosophical question is: should
journalists so deeply
immersed in their own subjective
“frames of reference” and controversy of the magnitude faced by the POM
be allowed to be news anchors or co-editors? Arguably, Tim might have done himself and Choice a service when he
stepped down from the news chair. Perhaps, the POM might have taken a page
After listening to Current Affairs on Tuesday
(April 12), my perspectives in respect of a few of the prevailing "media issues" were slightly refined but my enlightenment
still remained in “the twilight zone”. One of my initial hypothetical
perspectives was that the POM and Tim might have been singing from the same
hymn book of victimhood was largely confirmed on Tuesday night. Another
perspective which emerged was the POM’s action was no function of chance, even if
he might have some subsequent post-hoc regrets
about doing it.
The POM's discourse on “Current Affairs” on Tuesday
Night might not have moved the needle a fraction in his favour because it was too
centred on generalized positions and unknowns.
For example, the POM didn’t make any specific
disclosures related to “the behind the scenes attack” he alleged; he did not
share with us which media are under attack etc. As a matter of fact, ChoiceTV’s
categorical statement turned out to be a resounding rebuttal of the allegation that
the media are under attack.
In the days ahead, the public will be looking
forward to statements with greater specificity and particularity on those
“unknowns” alleged by the POM.
There is no doubt the political literacy,
consciousness and advocacy among the masses are on the rise. There is the
strange feeling that the media -caught in their own cocoon of complacency -
might be lagging behind. Admittedly, there are some supporters of the political
parties who would go to great lengths to demonstrate their advocacy with a
passion; but it may be noteworthy that beyond that advocacy, there may a lie
historical significance - both real and symbolic.
Indeed, I am of the view that some persons are
beginning to put politics in historical perspectives. For example, some persons
argue that the SLP was the party which brought St. Lucia “out of bondage” by
way of adult suffrage, trade union representation and a slew of worker
benefits. Others argue that the UWP brought independence and an economic
The pro-UWP media ring might consider factoring
those perspectives in their discourse and should consider avoiding stereotyping callers who have a different political chemistry. It might be better to develop
a relationship with those callers and allow them a "niche" in the way that Shelton
Daniel, Andre Paul, Dr Marcus Day, Hon Richard Frederick, Earl Bousquet and
Cokes Cyril do.
Some talk show hosts need to demonstrate
greater maturity and tolerance to allow the flow of healthier political
discourse - "crying foul" and stereotyping callers as
"hacks" may not be good for the development of our democracy; it may
not necessarily represent a strength but instead may connote an intellectual weakness of sorts in dealing with callers with a different political persuasion. In the same way that
journalists are entitled to professional identity, the hacks too may be entitled
to their political identity.
The attitude of a small
group of media workers suggests that they may be afflicted with the phenomenon that the writer
Robert Hughes terms "infantilised culture of complaint" or
"victimhood". Perhaps, the first order of business for those media workers should be to liberate themselves. They
should take personal responsibility for some of their apparent weaknesses and
not to attribute them to some external political locus of control. They
need to open up their faculties and start viewing their interactions with their
dissenting callers as "good-faith disagreements" and not necessarily
as "micro-aggressions". That sense of victimhood, according to Robert
Hughes, only "makes it more and more difficult for us to resolve political
and social conflicts".
Notwithstanding the perspectives above, I must say
I saw signs that the week seemed to be ending a note of rapprochement among the
dissenting parties with assurances that the media are not at war with
themselves. In that context, I pray that the chronology of this week events
will turn out to be just a minor counter-instance” on our historical landscape
My view is the media as a whole know better and can
It's time for the nation as whole to unite and move
forward; and the media can be a vital platform to help bring about this.