Jamaican journalism and the lazy leukocyte syndrome

Lazy leukocyte syndrome is the decreased immunity among the diabetic population because their leukocyte function is impaired. This, along with other things like poor blood flow and decreased sensation makes diabetic patients more susceptible to infection.

In this article on rules for writing fiction, Geoffrey Phillips quotes from John Maxwell who said of journalists

We are delegates of the people… We are… the sensory organs of the body politic….the body politic’s immune system… heralding, detecting malignant intrusions… In the circulatory system of the body politic, we are the white corpuscles and the T-cells.
“Ethical journalism is a human right: that people are entitled to the truth and that journalists are not entitled to tell lies or mislead.

I’ve long since been grumbly about the way journalists operate in this country, and on Tuesday this woman made my day by finally calling them out for being ineffectual. In this Gleaner article, Dr. Virtue complains about the blatant lack of investigative reporting and the deliberate pandering of stories to suit the public’s palette.

And she’s right. In the length of time I’ve been reading the newspaper (admittedly in fits and starts, and only for the last eight years or so), I’ve noticed a distinct lack of critical thinking among the writers. It’s all ‘he said-she said’ and sensationalism. Now that’s fine for tabloids like The Star and X News (and some would argue The Western Mirror – but hey, I think it does its best) but for hard hitting, “serious” newspapers like The Gleaner and The Jamaica Observer (those names have gravity, you guys) dat naa kot no dash.

Journalism: he's doing it right.

No one pushes beyond perfunctory reporting on political goings-on; there are no uncomfortable questions, and because there’s no one to hold our leaders up to harsh scrutiny, they are getting away with murder. Journalists have a duty to function as the watchdogs of society. That’s the whole point of freedom of the press. Instead our reporters are acting like the lazy leukocytes in this diabetic shell of a country and leaving us wide open to all kinds of infection. In the mean time, they disguise their inefficiencies with trivialities like beauty queen babies, which made the front page of The Gleaner last Wednesday. Really.

I guess I can understand that murder and violence are now so commonplace that they aren’t really ‘new’ any more, but even so we have much bigger issues to worry about than Yendi’s three-month pregnancy! I like the way Din Duggan segues from social frippery to socioeconomic woes in his column last Wednesday, and he’s right. Before we celebrate/castigate Ms. Phillips and her baby father, we need to look at how money is being spent in this country, where it is coming from and what we’re going to do when we can’t afford to borrow any more.

Whew. I think that’s enough ranting for one Monday. Journalists, step up your game!

Pax

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