Two completely unrelated events recently, one good for a laugh, the other deeply concerning, reminded me of how ego and self-interest increasingly dominate public life.
Then there’s Donald Trump who nicely fits into both categories. Good for a laugh but also deeply concerning!
The first example I saw also shows the importance of making sure your message is consistent with what else is in the public domain and a reminder that nothing is seen in isolation.
It concerned a blog posted by an executive on LinkedIn about how to be a good employer. One comment to the blog was a screen shot from a website that rated companies on how good they were to work for. Unfortunately, that screenshot showed that the blogger, as the CEO, and his company, rated really badly. Did he really think he could make himself look good simply by telling others how to be a good employer? What a great example of fake news.
The other issue attracting much more attention, and more concerning, is the freedom of the press and the role of whistle blowers.
It seems to me that recent police raids to find out where journalists get their information is more to do with politicians and bureaucrats being interested in their own image and careers rather than national security.
It doesn’t seem that the whistle blowers were putting our country’s security at risk as much as providing information about incidents that arguably the public should know about.
The lines between the first three estates, legislative, executive and judicial, are becoming increasingly blurred anyway, and now the fourth estate is seemingly under attack because of the egos and career ambitions of politicians. It seems more about self-interest than the public interest and in the process we’re seeing a very warped interpretation of “the national interest”.
An essential role of the media is shining a light on all skulduggery, whether it’s the government, in business, or anywhere else.
With less journalists to do this work, the last thing they need is government whittling away their ability to get to the facts. Otherwise we face a future of only getting fake news, or even worse, only government sanctioned news.