The headlines above hit New York in 1972. On this occasion the news was not only sensational but true!
Every day we are bombarded by media stories that are presented as truth but in reality only tell one (carefully censored) part of the complete story.
In the case above, the ethics of this particular study had been questioned for somewhere around 8 years, but no-one in a position of responsibility would take any action to stop it. However, once published & due to public outcry, this study stopped in a matter of months.
I am not advocating the use of sensationalism to get what we want, but I am highlighting that very often we make decisions based on how important an issue is to us personally. If our reputation benefits or is threatened we are far more motivated & likely to tackle issues that are uncomfortable. In the above instance, something very wrong was happening (even if arguably for good reasons). The final outcome was that one of America’s strongest & most influential public health & safety agencies was forced to respond for fear of losing face.
Looking at myself, I wonder how often I make decisions throughout the day that are based on my personal agenda & priorities rather than based on what is best for the wider good or benefit of others?
We will make mistakes & we will take wrong decisions, but may they be for the right reasons & not just because we benefit most (or the outcome involves us least).
Headlines sell papers; not necessarily the truth.
I hope that in 2014 I can become more consistent in the decisions I make & that they are based on what is needed rather than what is popular or what can be ignored.
Thankfully, there is a HUGE amount of good work that goes on all over the world: much of it will never make the headlines & be better for it. However, isn’t our task, as human beings, to ensure that all benefit from their interactions & dealings with us, rather than just a select few?
Sometimes we will need to create headlines (based on the truth) to get things moving; sometimes we will just need to get things moving ourself. The wisdom is, I guess, knowing which strategy to use in each situation.
Until next time …