• Today
    October 20

  • 08:16 AM

WHAT MATTERS MOST – Standards for all

Clyde Mascoll,

Added 22 July 2010

I certainly have offended my share of media practitioners over the years in one way or the other. I am therefore fully aware that I am not popular among certain personalities in the media. Perhaps I am an over-confident individual but I also believe that they were not prepared to deal with a different kind of politician who focused on researched opinions rather than the salacious. This led to labels and campaigns designed to influence public opinion. The fascinating story will be told once permission is granted from the master!Since I was never in a popularity test with the media, the following remarks should do nothing to alter its opinion of me. But this story must also be told!By now after almost 40 years and some reporters have been around for more than half of this time, the media should be in a position to question the Governor of the Central Bank on the fundamentals of the economy in a way that illuminates the basic issues for the public. I understand the issues of staffing, costs and instant reporting but the availability of technology makes these issues not the constraints they were in the past. Since the rest of the society is being asked to reach first World standards, it is only fitting that the same standards are demanded of the very institution that has appointed itself the watchdog. If the media do their research, it would recognise that the Central Bank always reports the country’s net international reserves such that any departure immediately triggers the curiosity of the media. If this is done, then an intervention from whatever source to highlight this reporting shortcoming would not be viewed with political suspicion but rather as professional competence.But in the absence of treating knowledge as the basis for inquiry, it is tempting to choose the salacious path to mask the basic weaknesses. This is a strategy that has become the norm for otherwise very able media personalities who should by now know better.The ability to craft a question to attempt to push someone in a particular direction is no substitute for the hardwork required to become truly familiar with the substance of the subject. This is a form of shadow boxing that is highly impressive in its style but does not stand the test when confronted by substance.In the public arena, it is very easy to gain a reputation as a talker which is construed in many quarters as the basis of brilliance. The freedom to flow may be impressive to the ear but not necessarily the mind. Unfortunately, it is easier to build a career on impression than it is to build a reputation on merit. I know of many people who never visited the hill for whom I am no match! The decisive difference comes in the desire for knowledge and the will to give of the time to acquire it. There are very few Albert Einsteins!    There is nothing extraordinary about the tools required to grasp a basic understanding of the fundamental workings of the Barbados economy. In fact this understanding revolves around the relationship between the financing of the government’s fiscal deficit and the behaviour of the country’s foreign reserves. It is that basic!   Every day I use a computer without having a grasp of the way the programmes are written but I know enough to start a journey that is self-sustaining, once there is a desire to learn.The real problem is that not enough credit is given to the public in differentiating between style and substance. Perhaps the public may be guilty of preferring the former over the latter and this is indicative of the vulnerability of our minds.


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