This post is an update from when I first posted it on “The Pub” back a while ago. Considering the behaviour of the mainstream media (MSM) this last week or so, I consider it fitting for the moment.
An accusative post to the MSM/Fourth Estate.
Given my trade is that of a carpenter/joiner you’d be excused for dismissing my missive at this very juncture. BUT … given that I have been working in my trade for over forty-five years, you’d have to grant me experience in public interaction and give me time to deliver my complaint to you.
If there is one thing experience and time in any public interaction occupation teaches you, be it … carpenter, policeman, teacher, spare-parts salesman or even journalist, it is the learned skill, the accrued skill to “suss out the situation” … if I may use the vernacular.
For instance; when I first meet with a customer to look at a job and give a quote, I not only have to assess the site, the structural quality of the building etc, I also have to do a quick “once-over” of the person I am going to be dealing with … and I had better be accurate there as many a budding “self-employed” has been brought undone by the overestimation of a customer’s capacity to deliver when it is pay-day! This is where life-experience allows one to use language, nuance and observation to make reasonable judgement of the person. (An excellent and wiser estimation of this requirement can be found with such an article by Clarence Darrow: “How to Pick a Jury“).
The second principle of good work is time; I constantly hear of the 24hr news cycle making it difficult for journalists to meet quality with quantity, given the demands on their time. For that I can mostly agree … there are times when workloads do tend to crib into each other … BUT, this again is where experience comes in to foresee a situation arising and to make preparations for such, and one would imagine that a journalist, with his/her “ear to the ground” would be very savvy to a developing situation.
For instance; Where I first posted this article, the site has four moderators … two of which I have little knowledge as to their employment … the other two are self-employed contractors. One; “Bushfire Bill” is a optical lens manufacturer/polisher … of the highest quality. A post I read many months ago where he enthusiastically related his success in polishing a lens to such fine measurements, he felt called to share his excitement at the quality of finish. NOT … not out of a sense of self-aggrandisement, but that internal self-rewarding feeling of a job damn-well done! The other is a trucking contractor; “Joe6pack”, who started the site with little knowledge of blogging technology, but a fistful of confidence that he could tackle it … a confidence gathered, I’d warrant, from years of coordinating and timetabling loads and schedules and personally “mixing it” with highway traffic and conditions that would try (as we all know!) the patience and vocabulary of a saint.
I relate all these facts to you because I know, as we all know that having a loaded and busy schedule is no excuse for shoddy work … if there was, Bushfire Bill’s optical lenses would be “cross-eyed” and Joe6pack would be smashed-up on some highway up the coast, and I would be “called back” to right the wrongs of my building constructions … a situation I have never had to endure.
Those with long experience at their craft are constantly thinking of technical points relating to that job even while sitting relaxing or on the road or even at another job … plotting the lines, the theme, the time-line, the length or load … not to mention the personal obligations of our everyday lives. The skilled “professional and artisan” must have the capability to do this even while doing handstands to entertain the kids! There are no excuses for sloppy workmanship in the professional work-world. It disgraces both the craft and the creator.
I accuse the Fourth Estate of negligence in assessing the source and validity of their material.
I accuse the Fourth Estate of slacking off in the preparation of their work and dedication to quality of delivery.
I accuse the Fourth Estate of gross indifference to the loyalty toward their nation and to vanity over value of product.
I accuse the Fourth Estate most of all in the lack of professional application to the “dignity of letters”, a dignity bestowed through a good education and favourable employment that has allowed yourselves the pleasure to deliver, in print, with your own by-line articles of what ought to be erudite delivery and succinct opinion … as against the cautious uncertainty whereby one of such self and mixed education as yours truly, must place oneself in the front line of possible literate ridicule to draw attention to your shortcomings.
I accuse you, I accuse you, I accuse you … and in the end … I DAMN YOU!