Musings are thoughts, the thoughtful kind. For the purpose of these articles, a-musings are thoughts that might amuse, entertain and even enlighten.
As is my wont – what a wonderful word wont is – and the wont of many, I dare say, I was trawling the web willy-nilly when I came across a fairly outdated, but still valid, news item on an SLP blog. It read thus:
“The government of St. Lucia led by Prime Minister, the Hon. Kenny D. Anthony has completed the formal structure of Parliament by his latest appointment of heads to the House of Assembly and Senate. Prominent Attorney at Law, Peter Foster is now the Speaker of the House of Assembly while Claudius Francis, host of popular radio show “Straight Up’ is the newly minted President of the Senate.”
Although I did find it somewhat hilarious that while Peter’s claim to fame and position rested on his prominence as an Attorney at Law, all Claudius had to his credit was his weekly stint as a talk-show host on Radio 100, which is a gross understatement of his qualifications. I sincerely think Claudius was short-changed by his party in this particular instance. I mean, if talk-show hosting is to be recognized as a qualification for high office, then Rick should be made Minister of Legal Affairs and Financing; Timothy could almost be our next prime minister, so eager is he to listen to the woes of others; Andre Paul would make an amazing Minister of Religious Affairs; Russell Lake could be Minister of Transport and Communications; Sheldon Daniel could be Minister for Propaganda – in fact, we wouldn’t need elections at all with so many media personalities to choose from. It could hardly be worse than it is now, and we would get rid of politicians and all their lying election promises. Talk shows would replace the sittings of the House; new laws could be passed by telethons – of course this would mean that obsessive callers would rule the country and ganja would become the national dish to be enjoyed in numerous ways.
But to move on, well, no, hang on a bit: What did the blog mean by calling Claudius “newly minted”? As I understand the phrase, “newly minted” can only mean “newly created”, but as far as I know, both Claudius and the role of President of the Senate did actually exist before our talk-show host’s appointment. Sloppy writing, so perhaps someone ought to remove the almost three-year-old blog from the world-wide-web, which brings me to the topic of today’s A-Musing: The Internet.
The Internet is notoriously unreliable as a source of news and information, unless the reader takes sufficient care to crosscheck reports that are presented as true facts. There is for example, a site that purports to be written “By consumers for consumers”, and whose motto is “Don’t let them get away with it. Let the truth be known.” The site claims around 9 billion, not million – billion, visits since 1998, which is two billion more people than the total estimated population of Planet Earth for 2014.Given those numbers, it would be ridiculous to try to maintain that anything contained on this site is not public knowledge, is not part of the public domain, but knowing the sensitivity of public personalities to criticism of any sort, it would take a very foolhardy, or very brave, person to quote or report the stories there mentioned.
I mean, look at Poor Tim, one of the most popular, decent, careful, inoffensive – some might say borderline innocuous – media personalities St Lucia enjoys, and look at the way he was treated by those who preferred to make a great fuss about his perceived abuse of their reputations – and thereby possibly guaranteed that the alleged misinformation was spread far and wide, thus damaging their reputations far more than Tim’s initial reading ever did.
The Internet is so unregulated that sites such as the one mentioned above are available to anyone and everyone. You need only type in a name, say: John Smith, and if such a site has a scandalous, unverifiable report of John Smith’s pedophilic predilections, involvement in rape, child molestation, child prostitution, drug trafficking, case fixing, evidence tampering, and even murder, then up will pop the site-and-all, for everyone to see.
The solution is probably as distasteful as the problem: Those featured in such stories have to defend themselves, take the authors of the site to task, and clear their names. But for incomprehensible reasons the victims of such reports seem unwilling to take their offshore accusers to task, and the traffic in scurrilous misinformation continues to grow.