September 21, 2020

Slanting iNews editorials

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Slanting a news story to your own personal bias is not a new trend. Michael Moore, the infamous USA filmmaker, author and liberal political commentator, in a presentation I was at some years ago in Vegas boasts about it. The very thing Moore purports to stand for, printing or showing the truth, he actually advocated slanting a story the way you personally want to bias it. The point he made was if you believe the world is flat you ask enough people who think it is and blaze it in your headline. THREE HUNDRED PEOPLE SAY THE WORLD IS FLAT AND HAVE THE PROOF”. Even though you have found ten million with the opposite view doesn’t matter. You have not lied you have just slanted the story your way.

To my horror I have been accused of doing just this in the article in todays iNews re the Phone Tapping Legislation. We interviewed six persons on the street to ask them their opinion on the new legislation. We asked many more persons who did not want to respond because we are insistent on knowing their names and photographing them (with their permission) for publication. We were not responsible for the content of their replies nor framing our question in such a way as to solicit the answer we wanted. We just asked their opinion. All six persons were positive in their answers and some did voice some reservations and wanted ‘such and such’ in place. I was accused of only publishing the positive and not the negative comments and the accuser sent me ones posted on another media site which, unsurprisingly, were all negative blogs. Apart from one blog all were from the same person – “Anonymous (not verified)” – he or her seems to very busy – and the lone blogger used a pseudonym.

In my article I pointed out a number of things I, and some of my fellow media personna who were at the meeting held by Dep. Gov. Donovan Ebanks, were unhappy with including the very unfortunate one giving the sole power to implement the phone tapping to the Governor. After the debacle implemented by previous Governor Jacks in Operation Tempura one wonders if the UK Government know what went on here. If not, one can only conclude they really are trying to manipulate and pull strings or they don’t care one way or another. Whatever the reason, this decision will turn the many positives in the law to negatives. In the aforementioned blogs that point was rammed home over and over.

The question of “fishing expeditions” did come up during the meeting and Mr. Ebanks took great pains to say that the five criteria for implementing the tapping prohibited any such fishing expeditions. My other big worry about the new law and I did point this out in my article is all the appointments to the Interception of Communication Audit Committee (ICAC) – who comes up with these names? – are done by the Governor in Council. If I was slanting my article to a solely positive piece I would have left it out.

Yes, I have tried to be fair to the legislation and not cherry picked to opening my article with ‘any person employed by the RCIPS can intercept a message….’ and other attention grabbing headlines. The header was correct and to be fair did point out in a separate paragraph that the interception request ‘must be authorised by a warrant issued directly from Cayman’s governor.’

I believe all of us at the meeting do see the need for some form of phone tap, email snoops, etc. legislation. The criminals are getting away with murder and this quite literally. They have the upper hand by a gun in the hand. They use BBM’s and the social networks to their advantage and with impunity. They are not one step ahead of the law at the moment they are ten steps ahead. Their crimes are orchestrated by the sophisticated and very cheap wireless communication technology available to all of us. If this new legislation helps to win the battle or even gets us on a level playing field I am for it and willing to give it my support. It is so easy and WRONG to moan and groan about EVERYTHING one tries to implement to fight crime and moan and groan that nothing is being done.

We most certainly do need to be wary about this new legislation. I hope the Governor will announce who the people on this Interception of Communication Audit Committee (sorry I just had to put the name out in full again) are and be as open as they reasonably can about the implementation. I am nervous about it and there must be results. If there aren’t I am sure it won’t make any difference to the legislation. Once in place it is here to stay.

Yes, there is an erosion of our liberties but it is because of us. We have allowed the criminal elements to get the upper hand. The sentences are too light for the crime that has been committed. There are not enough prisons to house the criminals that are caught because the majority of them are there for petty offensives and there is not enough money implemented in the budget to lock them away. Too many of the criminal element get off on technicalities nothing to do with all the crime fighting tools that are available to the police. Most are due to complete inefficiency by humans. We are still waiting to hear how the guns went missing. The RCIPS want our help and they have to have our help but prosecuting people for have a couple of dollars worth of lottery tickets isn’t going to win the public over even if it does appear on the plus side of a statistic. What way have I slanted that?

 

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