Considering weekly press briefings

Official Compass mantra : ‘Make it like it was; the way it used to be………’

The Compass reporters in attendance at the (still) televised press briefing were certainly on the receiving end of some pretty pointed criticism at the start of the briefing on Thursday, 16 October.

That’s when Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts unloaded. Clearly he was not at all happy with what he had read recently by way of editorial comment, specifically when it came to a verdict as to how he had chosen to present his cabinet’s weekly press briefing using television technology. And he was ready to give as good as he got.

His target was the individual or individuals who had scribbled the Caymanian Compass editorial of 14 October titled ‘Press briefings a farce’. And no amount of pre-damage control by way of grovelling absolution and condescending congratulation had deflected his aim.

Certainly he hit a bulls-eye in a delivery, which was remarkably constrained given the viciousness of the Compass’s assault on his integrity and that of his Cabinet during their responses to questioning by the media every week.

In a nutshell, Mr. Tibbetts seemed really mad with those who had had the temerity to describe his press briefings -and therefore by implication all that he and his Cabinet had to say during briefings – as ‘farcical’; or as good as ‘worthless’.

One is left to wonder why it is the Caymanian Compass didn’t have the courage to title the editorial ‘Press briefings worthless’ because that’s what they were saying when all said and done.

If the Caymanian Compass is truly the much vaunted ‘newspaper of record’ that it claims to be (and I cannot recall this ever being put to a vote over the last thirty years or so, I must say) then for goodness sake get over the seemingly tremendous shock of being dragged into the 20th Century with the advent of television coverage of press briefings and hone your journalistic skills in order to minimise the grandstanding you obviously find such as barrier to the practice of your craft.

Certainly – given the obvious strength of antipathy toward television technology at Compass HQ – dissuade any staff members of a Luddite-leaning persuasion from heading toward the recording studio after dark.

Have the foresight to envisage a time during which television coverage of the press briefings will be the prompting for statesmanship rather than grandstanding. And finally, cease hankering back to the technology of the days of Jane Austen (Compass editorial title 20 October). That title (Pride and Prejudice) was published in 1813.
John Flatley

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