Readers of Jamaica’s Daily Gleaner the mouthpiece for the People’s National Party, and JFLAG the homosexual lobby group in that country woke up to this subtle manipulation in that once prestigious medium, under the title.
The art of subtle manipulation, but manipulation nonetheless, portraits of Simpson Miller and Andrew Holness not after an election,but before the election. Yet this medium claim to be fair.
Take a look at the portrait of Holness, contemplative , sad, dejected, confused, tired,bewildered, any of the aforementioned adjectives would have been appropriate in describing this profile. Conversely look at Miller, happy, confident, vibrant, composed, all of the latter adjectives would also be appropriate in describing her. This medium takes you all for fools, they believing you are incapable of understanding the subtle art of visual manipulation, or the impact a picture has on the brain which is wired to recognize these variables and store them. An undecided voter going into the voting booth will remember both portraits and make their decision on which person they feel will win based on their demeanor. This is the kind of disdain that the elite has for ordinary Jamaicans, one never knows when this level of disrespect will ever stop.
As a boy growing up in Jamaica I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the Gleaner, this was the only newspaper in Jamaica at the time of course, there was the evening tabloid, the Star. The paper was brought into my District by the Postman, who either rode a bicycle or walked, with a sack of mail which he delivered to our Postal Agency , “Posie” as we lovingly called him, delivered the Gleaner to one of our community’s most respected elders who operated a shop close to the Postal Agency. Mister Small would read the paper from cover to cover, allow his customers to also read it, but he would take great care to save the paper for me so that on my way home from Primary school I could read it. He understood how much I loved to read, he also understood my keen interest in politics and everything current .
RIP Mister Small !
Under the leadership of Oliver Clarke the Gleaner weathered many storms and endured, to be revered as the pre eminent news-paper not just in Jamaica but in the entire Caribbean. One thing the Editorial Board recognized from early , was that the pathway to a better Jamaica was not through pandering to the base desires of the moment , but was hinged on laying the foundation for education and strong nation building, the frame-work for a better future. As a result the Gleaner was criticized for its conservative position. As such for years many accused it of being supportive of the Jamaica Labor Party, the truth is, what the Gleaner supported was a sustainable path to nation building, not a path of dependency . This however did not deter Michael Manley from leading a rabid mob of his supporters in the 70’s to the Gleaner’s offices on North Street threatening with clenched fists “next time, next time” No other Political leader has ever been so brazen as to overtly threaten the press and the function it has in protecting our freedoms, and ensuring our democracy is protected from tyrants.
Those who choose a path of revisionist history has skillfully omitted to mention these and many other transgressions of Michael Manley, casting him as an iconic matador of democratic principles and ideals,as a teenager growing up under his rule I was a witness to history, I was there, I don’t need to be told what happened I saw for myself, I saw the good of his intentions,But I also saw for myself his naiveté ,and multiple mistakes. Being a rousing speaker does not qualify one to be a good leader, ideas implemented improperly does no one any good they are just ideas. Michael Manley understood his frailties as a leader, he understood his mistakes, something his cult following does not. Hence Manley’s mea culpa when he came back to contest the elections that saw the back of Edward Seaga.
The Gleaner through all the growing pains of our country maintained it’s integrity as the true source of information for the Jamaican people . as a people who did not have many choices when we thought about newspaper we thought about the Gleaner , when we thought about toothpaste it was Colgate, when we thought about Beer we thought about Red Stripe, those were ours, proudly Jamaican products, irrespective of what came after those were the names that were indelibly seared into our souls.
Oliver Clarke has unfortunately passed the torch to someone else, of course all good things must come to an end, and as such we have seen a dramatic decline in the quality of the product. Despite technological additions to the Gleaner’s product, like it’s website which purports to allow comments, a good thing, if not manipulated to push agendas. This has opened the product to the world bringing Jamaicans in the diaspora into the conversation, allowing everyone the opportunity to see what’s happening on the ground. Those advances if used properly has tremendous potential for informing the diaspora, selling Jamaica to the world, and reaping untold financial windfall for the Gleaner.This would however require informed visionary leadership devoid of myopia or chained to local political preferences.
Instead what has steadily been happening at the Gleaner is a small-minded manipulation of it’s readership, through slanted reporting , and in some cases outright cheer leading, and subtle manipulation using imagery all toward a narrow parochial support for the People’s National Party. Editors like everyone else are entitled to their opinions, what they are not allowed to do is to distort facts to suit their political agendas. Jamaicans largely do not agree with homosexuality that is their right, Neither Britain nor anyone else have the right to tell Jamaicans what to think . neither does anyone or any country have the right to threaten to use economic blackmail to terrorise us . We are a free people all 2.8 million who live on the Island and the millions more who live across the globe, gay or straight, black or white, christian or Muslim, atheist or agnostic, male or female.
Let me be clear no one who is gay should be killed, discriminated against because they are gay , denied any benefit that is available to others of other sexual orientation, neither should any gay person be denied the right to be gainfully employed in any discipline to which he or she has appropriate qualification because of their sexual orientation.
However Gays are in the minority and we live in societies that embrace majority rule, until we go to a formula of minority rule I will not be told by any homosexual that I must embrace that lifestyle as normal , or moral, no homosexual will convince me that I must surrender my christian values on the altar of carnality by supporting their cause. My God created a man and woman to fill the earth , I will forever believe his word, and will never bend to elitist dogma which professes that who do not embrace homosexuality, or share their views are beneath them. I will respect their right to be what they are , but they must respect my right to believe that their carnal immoral lifestyle is an abomination to my God,and as such I will call it for what it is,…….. an abomination !
The Gleaner’s campaign to promulgate homosexuality on the Jamaican nation is an affront to our dignity and our values , the overwhelming majority of us are opposed to this repugnant counter-culture, and even though we believe in fairness we are opposed to anyone pushing what they believe on us.
The Gleaner’s Editor if he is gay should have the courage to come out of the closet and declare his sexual preference to the nation, instead of hiding behind his Editorials pretending to champion the rights of homosexuals when he may very well be defending his own sexuality. The financial arguments he has used has fallen flat as they have not taken into account the potential disastrous consequence to the health sector from diseases derived from homosexual indulgence. As such his crusade should be seen as the crusade of a possible gay person who is afraid of his own homosexuality, too much of a coward to declare who he is or stand by what he is .
Whatever the outcome of the elections on Thursday December 29th, a day that just happen to be the date of my birth, Jamaicans will have to live with the choice they make. Whether the winner is Miller or Holness that leader’s decisions will decide Jamaica’s course, possibly for generations to come, we get the government we deserve. Jamaicans will have to decide if the way forward will continue to be one of handouts from friends and relatives living abroad or they will once and for all take their future and that of their children into their own hands,understanding that handouts and cheap political pork barrel programs will not get them to economic freedom. Economic freedom will only be achieved through hard work, Education and sacrifice.