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Editorial

Declared dead but still alive

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By EMN Updated: Aug 09, 2013 11:58 pm
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[dropcap]P[/dropcap]rominent English essayist G. K. Chestertin, once remarked that “Journalism largely consists of telling the people ‘Lord Jones dead’ when half the people never knew that Lord Jones had ever been alive.”This is one example of what tends to intrude into committed journalism. And many people would lose no opportunity to slam or vilify the news reports in such connection and perhaps even snipe at the journalists concerned.
However, when you give it, then be prepared to take it also. Personal feelings and views (no matter how antagonistic or how supportive) must also take into account at least the basic factors that have resulted in such an impasse and not necessarily go for juicy item (s) which may titillate the reader but leave no option for the public person(s) concerned but to retaliate thus adding fuel to an unnecessary burning fire. For instance, founder and sponsor of P.T. Barnum and Bailey Circus was very clear and practiced in what he believed in even though it was through the medium of the (superb) circus.
After a lifetime of entertaining the people through various innovative techniques including introducing the (controlled) antics of elephants, Barnum on his death bed was still human enough to request a journalist to, write an obituary which he could read before he said goodbye to this life.
The Editor concerned was understanding and accommodative and a week before Barnum’s death, the obituary appeared much to the delight of the readers concerned as also Barnum himself. Of course, this was but a rare concession and a tribute to a talented person who entertained millions of people the world over.
Now, in a related incident although totally different, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev denied rumours of his death after hackers sent false alerts from the Twitter accounts of a State news agency, according to a Skynews report which reported Thursday, “I’m alive and well.” Gorbachev said on Thursday night.
His denial came after State news agency RIA, Novosti’s two twitter accounts posted reports of the death of Gorbachev, the first and last President of the former Soviet Union. The agency said that they had been subject to cyber attack by hackers and that the tweets were spotted and deleted within five minutes of being posted.
Gorbachev’s place in Soviet Union and by extension, world history is that he had been wise enough to steer the transition of most of the Soviet Socialist Republics into their own independence and hence free from a domineering Soviet central system. Simultaneously, President F.W. de Klerk of the Republic of South Africa had also engineered the end of Apartheid and paved the way for the majority Zulu tribe to have a greater participation in affairs of the resource-rich nation. Both Gorbachev and de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace as well Zulu leader Nelson Mandela a few tears later.
Be that as it may. Mark Twain, author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn which became American classics, happened to be afflicted with a cold while on a visit to London. An enterprising young journalist typed out on the teleprinter to New York that the author had died of pneumonia.
However, when his ship docked in New York harbour, dozens of journalists were waiting to interview him. His only comment: “The reports of my death have been grossly exaggerated!”
And set the entire world a-laughter!

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By EMN Updated: Aug 09, 2013 11:58:19 pm