“If the press don’t mek yuh, the press can’t brek yuh and I have been around long enough in these last 15 years that I know that they got people in high places and in low places in that field they call media that if you got a hurn [hundred] dollar bill, they will tell you that lipstick was on a pig and it was the most beautiful thing they ever saw. And if they get $150 they will tell you that Jesus Incarnate was Lucifer himself, so I don’t get tie up ‘bout that. Prostitution did not begin and end in Bush Hill.”
If any practitioners in the media had any confusion in their minds about how certain politicians really feel about them, then the above statement by St James Central representative Kerrie Symmonds during last Sunday’s Barbados Labour Party meeting at Briar Hall, Christ Church should certainly make it pellucidly clear.
From that statement alone, you are able to surmise, without any form of exaggeration, that Mr Symmonds cares very little for members of this country’s Fourth Estate. In fact, he believes he can make it in politics, with or without us.
Furthermore, there’s hardly any respect to speak of for these so called “reptiles”.
And the faster you can use them and get rid of them the better, since in Mr Symmonds’s estimation, they have no morals and are simply there to be bought.
Therefore, during silly seasons such as the one we are currently in, it is easy to throw an extra “50 dollar” here, or “a hurn dollar” there to get these hand-to-mouth media people to do the bidding of one politician or another.
It is the same kind of callous treatment often meted out to the electorate from cocky politicians and wannabe leaders who often forget who they really serve and, more importantly, who got them where they are.
Therefore, outside of election season they become arrogant and distant, unapproachable and ultimately out of touch.
But then election time rolls around and they are knocking on your door, shamelessly begging for a vote and offering all manner of inducements because they operate on the premise that every man or woman has a price.
Which takes us back to the recent vote buying allegations levelled by no lesser person than our own Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
Well just as we had suggested a week or so ago when Mr Stuart made the scurrilous allegations, we would wish for Mr Symmonds to produce the ‘hard’ evidence of infelicities on the part of practitioners in media.
In fact, we would like him to call the names of the seemingly hand-to-mouth journalists that are willing to destroy their very profession for less than what sex worker Natlee would have been paid in a night at Bush Hill before she quit her profession for politics on Monday.
Don’t get us wrong. We are well aware that in every profession there are indeed so called “bad apples” and that all it really takes is for one to spoil the whole bunch.
Yet we feel the need to caution Mr Symmonds against making generalizations at this stage, for surely he would not want to have it said that all lawyers assault their wives or that all politicians engage in corrupt dealings at one time or another.
The reality is that just as there are good lawyers, there are good journalists and just as there are uncorrupt politicians there are uncorrupt journalists as well.
Therefore, while we are prepared to accept that in the cut and thrust of the political campaign Mr Symmonds occasionally suffers from a rabid bout of foot and mouth disease in which he gets involuntarily loose with his tongue and without the ability to think twice about the implications of his mudslinging, he seeks to tarnish the reputation of everyone from the prime minister back down, we think it unbecoming for someone of Mr Symmonds’ political stature and promise to so comfortably assume the role of a political Ossie Moore, who is out to generate laughs and to bite like an attack dog on the campaign trail.
Certainly, there is a point at which all must draw the line, even if they feel offended about a headline or not, without tearing off one’s clothes, snarling and screeching and the like.
As a former journalist and spokesman for the Barbados Society For A Quieter Barbados, we are certain that Carl Moore for one, would be grateful.