It is no surprise the burden of the stories they tell of tragedy and outrage, duplicity and ineptitude, is coloured by the voice, the emphasis and choice of words; correspondents, commentators are human, too. Watching, trying to comprehend each fresh new problem, along with some analyst’s seldom uncompromised reading of what’s going on, it’s often easy to be almost overcome by guilt if we do not respond to the same emotional degree.
There is demonstrably a danger in allowing others, often offering as much speculation as fact, to allow our reactions to be engineered, leading our thoughts in this way.
Like actors in the theatre, they are telling us what to think.
Just when we need clear-headed, unvarnished news reports, those on whom we rely to relay the truth, however horrifying, without emotion, without making themselves a part of the story appear to be few on the ground.
Journalism further loses integrity when tragedians and drama queens – we’ve got to know the usual suspects since the nation was drawn into immoderate and vicarious grief for Diana – display fulsome empathy to an audience long susceptible to pre-packed information.
But soft hearts subvert good judgement. In national life as in business, leadership demands hard-hearted, dispassionate evaluation of challenging situations to create outcomes that bring order and trust.
The greater the trauma, the higher the emotional demands. Known in the trade as shroud-waving, tears make great television.
But actors belong on the stage, not on the streets and not on our screens.