Lennox Grant’s Sunday Express piece of March 16 appeared to show a very controlled relish in coming out hard against Dr Keith Rowley’s several gross errors of fact. For broadcasting these errors the journalist has a public-interest responsibility to make them known in order to prevent them from hardening into beliefs that become misconstrued as “facts” in the public consciousness.
I was amused both by Grant’s sure marshalling of the facts as he knew them, as much as by the imagery of him confidently walking down the middle of the pitch and hitting Dr Rowley’s short-pitched claims over the boundary. But this journalist fest that restrained the People’s National Movement leader’s missteps alarmed me as well.
It showed Dr Rowley does not have enough commendable self-doubt to reassure himself of the need to validate his opinions by first checking the facts. That failure is rampant at all levels of our society that lies helplessly prostrate to innuendo and rumour. Citizens who have been disciplined long enough to closely record the facts know we are in such a hot mess here that our lack of standards has become the standard (to quote Lloyd Best).
It is painfully disconcerting to acknowledge, too, that instead of focusing on the great issues for social and political reform that beckons all citizens, many chose to bottom feed. One lesson here is we must hold all public figures to the highest standards of competent technical and ethical conduct. Another lesson is it is dangerous to see in every free expression of disagreement a lurking political opponent. That is an insecurity that breeds autocracy. Getting the base facts right is a great test of mature leadership. Dr Rowley has an opportunity to put himself on that road with a generous public apology.