External Views

Given the interconnectedness of the world today, actions taken in one part of the world can have ripple effects thousands of miles away, and months, or even years, after the event.

Nothing occurs in isolation. No action can be taken anywhere that does not interact with other actions in some way or another.

How do you keep informed in such an environment?  Do you rely on television, newspapers and magazine articles? Do you rely on your network of friends and colleagues, and if so, how well are they informed?

It was once the role of the journalist to independently verify facts before they were reported.  That should still be their primary role, but with the pressures of meeting deadlines in the shortened timeframes of mass electronic communications, there is now little time to verify facts and, in many cases, no time to actually establish what the real facts are.

We all want to show ourselves, and our companies, in the best possible light.  So we all engage Public Relations specialists to put a positive "spin" on what we do.

Everybody does it. Politicians, governments, businesses, lobby groups, celebrities (by definition, manufactured by "publicists"), royalty, terrorist groups, pornography stars, the list goes on.

Because of the time pressures they face, there is a very strong temptation for the news media to simply use available press releases as the basis for a news story, or perhaps even just rework complete press releases into the editorial style required.

The result is a flood of isolated news items, each based on a "news message", with little historical context, and few linkages to other related news items.

Also, in today litigious age, it is invariably safer to quote somebody else (even if they are wrong) than to provide editorial analysis or comment which can get you sued (even if you are correct).

Businesses focus on the numbers, not patterns of human behavior.  Numbers can be easily verified, and patterns of deception will emerge.  In comparison, societal attitudes and political activities appear to be almost random.

The trick is to recognize which combinations of interactions might be significant, and why, and how.