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#1523: Labelling of Haiti : Chamberlain comments on Madhere (fwd)


People can be so contradictory...

One moment, they're deriding the media for cheap shots, exaggeration,
dumbly following fashion, twisting the truth and a thousand other sins. 
Then when it suits their argument, they're praising the same media for
changing tack because "telephone lines lit up wth phone calls."  And Bill
Clinton for saying Jim Rose ought to be in the Hall of Fame, "something he
would not have said prior to the public reaction."  Suddenly Slick Willy's
much decried habit of changing his tune to suit public opinion (whatever
the truth might be) becomes virtuous when it happens to suit the argument.

Or are we saying public affairs _ought_ to be conducted on the basis of
bullying and who-can-shout-the-loudest ("I suspect it will be a long time
before any reporter will find it necessary to bring up that subject
again"), with no consideration for truth, reason or logic?  We know there's
plenty of that already, but do we believe we should add to it?  It's as if
the Christian Right organised a massive campaign of telephone threats
(sorry, calls) to local media all over the country demanding (sorry,
requesting) that the word "Jesus" be included in every news bulletin.  If
they somehow succeeded, would that make it right?  

As I've said, I think there's a reasonable and unreasonable (not "right" or
"wrong") use of The Phrase.  The problem with fighting it is the awkward
fact that it is manifestly true, and people just would not understand why
they should stop using such a simple factual description in _any_
circumstances rather than in just inappropriate ones.  If campaigners don't
want to consider this problem, then go ahead regardless and good luck.  But
don't expect to win any battle where the question of "truth" enters into
it.  It seems to me that a victory on these terms would be rather hollow
and, since it flies in the face of what everyone recognizes to be true,
would probably be a pretty shaky one.

> There have not been no major breaking stories 
> out of Haiti in recent  times, therefore, in my 
> opinion, the purpose of continuing to use this
>  label is no longer to inform but to denigrate.

People are quite at liberty to believe this, of course, but on what
concrete evidence is it based?  Yet another conspiracy theory, I fear...

        Greg Chamberlain