Writing a blog gives you a different outlook on the work of the media. Blogs are often an outlet - produced in many cases on a whim, but without deadlines. They can cover sensitive subjects that might not pass the censors knife, were they to appear in a newspaper or a magazine. Some governments, however, still manage to censor them by banning the site.
Unlike bloggers (some of whom are of course journalists), journalists on the other hand need to find items of "news", or comment on issues of the day, no matter what they really believe or want to do. They must attract and retain readers or viewers. And they need to do so within certain deadlines. It is a tough job - and for that I respect their skill.
Writing this blog in recent weeks has become somewhat hit or miss. I set out, when I started, with the intention of trying to put out something on views that were important to me, or that I was being asked about. Notes that I thought might interest people who valued an independent view or commentary on matters of the day. It was supposed to be regular, if not precise, in its issue date and four times a month seemed about right. Regular visitors to the site will have realised, however, that I have been much less consistent lately, and as a result although they may still find the content to be useful, its irregularity may diminish any perceived value. I cannot blame you, particularly when there is just so much already out there to read.
One adage I was taught at a very early age is the one that reads "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool... than to open one's mouth and remove the doubt". It is attributed to Abraham Lincoln, who is said to be President Obama's hero, but more about him later! (Obama, not Lincoln!)
I have never been too worried about opening my mouth if I didn't know something and needed to ask, even if it might have made me look foolish. So I paraphrased the saying slightly into one that means you should only say something when you have something to say that may make a difference or provide clarity. Too often we have all come across people who offer opinions based on little knowledge or fact or who, in their own eyes, have the only correct and rational view, or who just like the sound of their own voice and don't know when to shut up.
In the last couple of months we have been assailed with commentary on the financial woes of the world - commentary from many people far better qualified than I am. We have been subjected to a blast of media comment, the main purpose of which seemed to rest with trying to find people in the most desperate of situations and painting the most pessimistic picture they can. They have ignored totally those people who are trying to do something to help themselves.
As a result, I rather left it to others to express their opinions on the current state of affairs, And the opinions have varied greatly. From the overly pessimistic to the exuberantly optimistic - both wrong in my opinion. And now we are getting into the blame game without even having solved the problem.
Economists blaming credit addicted American consumers. Consumers blaming irresponsible banks. Investors blaming inattentive analysts and greedy investment bankers. Banks blaming over-eager mortgage brokers and lax credit rating agencies. Academics blaming careless regulators and irrationally exuberant central bankers. Henry Paulson blaming spend-thrift China. CEOs and others blaming the rumour-mongering media.
Oh dear. Come on people - you all have some blame to share. Get over it and spend your time in trying to find some sensible, workable solutions to get the world out of this mess.
Remaining silent for any longer is clearly not an option - and as for Mr. Obama; next issue!