Predictably, there were some Yes supporters who couldn’t resist signalling their glee at the prospect of several hundred people and their families facing uncertainty in the weeks before Christmas.
If, like me, you have learned to question absolutely everything conveyed by the media, you will have read Kevin McKenna’s assertion in The National and wondered if it was true. You will have wondered if there actually any Yes supporters indulging in public displays of unseemly schadenfreude at the prospective misfortune of Scotsman employees and their families.
If, like me, you have learned to distrust such claims unless backed up with persuasive evidence or authoritative argument, you will be wondering why Mr McKenna has neglected to provide even a single example to illustrate the behaviour to which he refers. After all, he must have witnessed this behaviour. He would hardly claim that Yes supporters were “signalling their glee” at the possibility of people suffering the Dickensian Yuletide he evokes unless he had actually seen at least one or two instances of such contemptible conduct. He wouldn’t expect us to take this serious allegation on trust. Would he?
If, like me, you have learned that certain terms can have a particular significance when deployed by journalists, you will have realised that prefacing this claim with the word ‘predictably’ is intended to strongly imply a truth so obvious that the reader would be a fool to doubt it. Or, if not a fool, then certainly someone outside the priesthood of journalism and so denied their privileged access to truth. Which amounts to the same thing as being a fool, I suppose.
Journalists are manipulators. They manipulate information. They manipulate language. They manipulate perception. Ultimately, they manipulate people. This is entirely unsurprising and quite uncontroversial. After all, journalists work, for the most part, in an industry devoted to manipulation of people’s perceptions. Manipulation is a function of control. Control is a function of power. Power must be made manifest. Manipulators gotta manipulate. They can’t help themselves. Crucially, they don’t get paid unless they can demonstrate their ability to manipulate. And you’re only as good as your most recent bit of manipulation.
This doesn’t necessarily make journalists bad people. Everybody has to make a living. And it very much depends on what power is being served by those manipulative skills. Or, rather, how we perceive the power that is so served.
Perhaps, like me, you begin to see the problem.
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