Thoughts, topics of interest, points of view, stories and poetry. Some posts also feature my own photographs - here, as well as on the 'valleyguardians' blog. While I don't mind my material being used, I would ask the courtesy of acknowledgement by name or link. A thank you would then follow.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Gish-gallop of information

Writing in the public arena comes with responsibility…regardless of the gish-gallop we have to wade through.
And this is not just aimed at bloggers – it is aimed at everyone. Corporate writers…listen up!
So you write ‘cos you get paid? And you spin it the way you’re told, in order for us readers to not understand just how many companies own each other, while seemingly in direct competition to and with each other?
Take the Apple vs Samsung ‘child’s play’, the bantering between little boys scenario they’re creating at the moment…so they’ll change the perception we have of them.
Bloody – brilliant, yes, kudos to the team who think-tanked this spin. However, when you consider that, should one of the 150 companies, who own the rest of the companies on the globe, crash, it could very well topple the little tower they’ve built. And because they hold the majority of whatever you need to survive on the planet, they’ll be ok…

And in the interim there’s the gish-gallop of information we are bombarded with, that we don’t question before reposting or even blogging about. Nobody seems to question the facts and for me, trained in old-school journalism basics, that’s a problem.
If you’re going to write about anything, to then publish it in the public space comes with a huge responsibility. I say huge because to me that’s a lot but you could call it gargantuan. The basics state very clearly that, in order to inform and educate you have to present the facts, from every point of view, in order to create a clear, factual, picture. Yes, words and pictures. When accurately investigated, researched and written down properly, your reader should be presented with as complete a picture as possibly of the actual event, person, happening and specifically, news.
The online information overload has muddied the water considerably, and I find very few investigative journalists, more bloggers than ever, and the ‘in-betweeners’, who click, and like, and share, and post, and re-blog, and like some more of whatever they’re fed. Being labelled as a conspiracy theorist may be what’s stopping many of my fellow authors, who do not comment; who absolutely use spellchecker or Grammarly; and who plod through too much information, looking for the facts, tracking the flow of money, investigating legal routes, sifting through the gish-gallop…after hours, mind you, nobody pays you for facts and investigations – unless you think so many cents per word can feed a freelancer.
As for those who blog, randomly post and share, without a thought as to the responsibility that comes with the dissemination of information, you are perceived to be fear-mongering and gossiping and perhaps, carrying the responsibility of these attributes will make you question the validity of the facts you are bandying about.
Reader, you also have a responsibility. If and when you do read ‘facts’ about whatever, dig a little deeper, question not just the facts, but their origin and accuracy. I would urge you to tell the authors to check their facts. I am fortunate to have a mentor who raps me on the knuckles when he finds me publicly penning or sharing stuff that’s not factual and accurate (excuse: gish-gallopping makes finding facts a little problematic). Being a friend though, he always includes the facts in the knuckle-rapping, still teaching and reminding me of the basics. Thanks Mike.

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