Tue, 04/05/2011 - 08:57 am PST by Jess
Supposedly we all pay taxes right? Even big companies play by the rules and pony up a nice chunk of change to Uncle Sam. Or do they? We’ve all read the headlines about major corporations deep in the throes of tax evasion scandals. The media can’t wait to crack the next big company “no-no” story. Boring right?
Recently the eyes are all on General Electric (GE). Well normally I’d have skipped over this story -- who cares? It's just more God-complex-carrying, wealthy executives making bad decisions. No news story here. BUT wait! Here is a new twist -- Twitter is making corporations look even MORE guilty? Karmic Law #8 "Give it a Rest" is definitely at play in this scenario.
The New York Times (NYT) has been accused of "scrambling" to redefine it's niche in the journalism publishing world. With more and more content consumption happening online, NYT has been struggling to hold their print circulation and readership. They continue to take a strong position as leader in the top-tier journalism sector, though many are challenging this position (read about their open feud with Huffington Post ).
So a week ago or so, The New York Times ran a piece about General Electric. The piece boldly claims that GE paid NO taxes in 2010 (read the full article here). The article was not well received by GE, and sure enough, public relations employees swung into action, quickly firing off Tweets and AP statements. Soon after, other business rags got into the action asking for confirmation of facts. What became interesting was that, as the dispute escalated, the outside media became more and more speculative of the accuracy of facts on BOTH sides.
Demanding confirmation from both NYT and GE via Twitter, the media was ballooning the story into a corporate cage match. Third party journalists were asking “Why could it be taking this long to get GE to tell us the truth? We Tweeted them 20 minutes ago?” And what about The New York Times? “We sent a Tweet and they had no comment.” In the absence of response, a new story emerged with even less information and more speculation.
It seems now, if a company doesn’t respond to a Tweet in the "proper" response time, it opens them up for further suspect. After all, if they don’t respond INSTANTLY, well, it must mean they are crafting a perfectly spun response, right? Wrong. Twitter seems to have set this unrealistically high expectation that if we are not responded to almost instantly, then there must be another agenda at play. To me, this rationale seems to feed a more convenient excuse for crafting a new angle to a fairly boring story.
Lets face it, in the “old days,” journalists would have no way of sharing the information and images they do now. And because the sharing vehicles were more formal -- mail, corded phones, fax machines -- these reports were accompanied by well thought out, comprehensive information. Multiple sets of eyes would review content before print. The notion that a 140 character text and cell phone snapshot would go straight to press without a series of checks, edits, and disclaimers was unthinkable. It also wasn't logistically possible.
A major publication can now take a Tweet and a low res photo and run with it -- spinning it into a national controversy with little to no accountability for accuracy in a matter of minutes. After all, it’s not like the 80s when you had to actually PRINT a retraction and wait for the next day’s issue to land on your doorstep. Now you can publish, retract, publish, retract, rewrite, report. Who cares if you get it right the first time? The mantra appears to be: Let's just get people worked up about it and if we’re lucky, and it is true, we get to say, ‘We broke the story!" Well I call this cosmic clutter. And it’s not productive.
So here we are, innocent readers, trying to get news delivered to us with well researched facts and unbiased agendas, getting flustered when we read one version of story followed by another. Our brains are confused by the media rushing stories to us before all the facts are in place. Give the media a rest. And encourage the media to rest. A good night's sleep or a slow response means someone is giving an important question or topic the attention it deserves. To keep your Karma clean and help shape the energy of the world, don't take everything you read as fact. Resist sharing, retweeting or quoting things that are seemingly "journalistic clutter". Let it go as quickly as the author wrote it. Be an independent thinker. Look beyond the speculation of an article and stick to the core issues.