Media outlets receive constant information from public and private interests who spin the messages in ever-interesting ways.
The challenge is to wade through the obfuscation from intentionally misleading messages.
Take a recent press release for the “Personal Information Protection and Electronic Document Act” introduced by the federal government. It touted a deep concern for protection against the misuse of personal information, and the presser gushed that “trust is indeed the linchpin of the digital economy.”
That press release failed to mention that Statistics Canada officials were simultaneously and secretly trying to access Canadians’ personal banking information. It gave the release a sort of Orwellian doublespeak flavour.
This spring the federal Fisheries Department imposed crippling regulations that closed the doors of fishing operators in our region. The move was accompanied by a statement that said the government was taking the actions to “protect the communities and jobs that depend on chinook survival.”
In George Orwell’s 1984 he defined “doublethink” as the ability to simultaneously hold two contradictory thoughts and believe both of them.
Fisheries nailed it.
Then, this week, the Ministry of Education released a statement that acknowledged that there were mistakes in the Grade 12 exam marks they’d released. Their error had the potential of affecting the students’ quest for admission to post-secondary institutions.
But instead of admitting their mistake, the ministry blamed the situation on “an anomaly in the tabulation of Grade 12 exam results.”
The term “anomaly” was an interesting choice as it’s defined as a deviation from the norm.
More than 24 hours later, they finally copped to “human error” as the cause. While unfortunate, human error amongst bureaucrats is far from anomalous.
It got us thinking. Despite the spin and warping of truth, it still matters. Facts do not cease to exist because they are hidden behind jargon and we all have a responsibility to seek the truth, even in today’s decidedly Orwellian times.