Opinion: News News

POSTED: 08/6/15 6:46 PM

We don’t want to waste too much time on gossip sites like ‘SMN News’ as the site refers to itself, apparently unaware that SMN stands for St. Maarten News and that SMN News therefore stands for St. Maarten News News.

But when a site like this makes a poor habit of stirring the pot with unsubstantiated stories about the fall of the government, we do feel the need to say something about it. What we want to say comes mostly in the form of questions, because the right to freedom of expression gives scribblers the right to write whatever they want, even if it is incorrect.

Is this kind of reporting due to the inability of doing a proper job? Are there darker motives at work behind the scenes?

These questions are opportune because the site did not get a single source to confirm that Lake, Matser and Frans Richardson brought down the government. To publish a story that suggests that something like this is not about to happen, but actually has already happened – while nothing of the kind occurred – is a responsibility no serious journalist would want to have on his or her record. At St. Maarten News News this is apparently – based on results – standard operating procedure. The bandits were already busy dividing the portfolios!

In the old days – oh, fifty years ago or even longer – people trusted their newspaper. “It was in the newspaper so it has to be true,” readers used to say.

Sadly, those days are gone. While the internet brought us the free flow of information – that’s enrichment, for sure – it also brought us the limitless flow of gossip and politically inspired backstabbing. That there is a market for gossip is nothing new. That market has always been there and it is not about to die today.

Amazingly, some people still give this gossip site some credibility, given the fact that the story flew around the island like wildfire.

There is no need to kill the messenger because the messenger is making a pretty good job of this singlehandedly. Publish one lie, and it could be a mistake. Publish two, then you’re up to no good. Readers who do not understand this should continue to gobble up this gossip like the Hole Grail. By all means.

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