Language That Deceives

No particular news focus today except the language it uses. I scanned Google News at 11:50 p.m. GMT. Bold/Underlines are the language in question.

Unsubstantiated statements given as if they’re quotes:
From the Daily Times of Pakistan: Musharraf’s impeachment dominates PA session “PML-Q’s Amir Sultan Cheema said the president had the right to defend himself against the impeachment motion. He praised Nawaz Sharif as a humble man, but added that Nawaz seemed to be under the influence of Asif Zardari.”

Unsubstantiated statements given as if they’re quotes/facts:
From the Telegraph of the United Kingdom: John Edwards admits to lying about affairHe stated he had not been in love with Ms Hunter, an obscure film-maker”

Words commonly used to make unsubstantiated statements sound true while not referencing sources:
From the Associated Press: Security tightens more as Olympics get under way “On Thursday, a videotape purportedly made by the Turkistan Islamic Party, a militant group seeking independence for Xinjiang, was released with threats of attacks during the Olympics. The group is believed to be based across the border in Pakistan, where security experts say core members have received training from al-Qaida.”

An example of the right way to attribute statements:
From Agence France-Presse: Hundreds attend anti-coup rally in Mauritania “Abdahalli’s daughter said Friday she was concerned about her father’s safety and security.
“I am worried about my father’s health and safety given that he has not been freed,” Amal Mint Cheikh Abdallahi told AFP from her family home.”

I’m not trying to say these stories are completely devoid of truth. I’m pointing out that, even in a story with a lot of research behind it, there can be subtle (or not so subtle) traps for an unwary reader. Politics has taken this twisted art to unbelievably unrefined heights !

Today’s spiritual quote, concerning newspapers and written in the 19 Century, is completely valid for the swift transmission of news on the Internet:

“The pages of swiftly-appearing newspapers are indeed the mirror of the world. They reflect the deeds and the pursuits of divers peoples and kindreds. They both reflect them and make them known. They are a mirror endowed with hearing, sight and speech. This is an amazing and potent phenomenon. However, it behoveth the writers thereof to be purged from the promptings of evil passions and desires and to be attired with the raiment of justice and equity. They should enquire into situations as much as possible and ascertain the facts, then set them down in writing.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 39

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How Do You Feed A Whole World ?


Quite often, the global drama strikes me as a group of children fighting over who gets to go first. Actually, I’ve been feeling a bit adolescent lately so it’s not much of a stretch to see the world’s leaders as misbehaving children.

From the International Herald Tribune: Negotiators acknowledge World Trade Organization process needs to change

From the New York Times: After 7 Years, Talks Collapse on World Trade

From the New York Times/World Business: China’s Shift on Food Was Key to Trade Impasse

From Reuters: EU points at U.S. for WTO collapse

From The WIP: How to Solve the Food Crisis: Cut trade barriers and start a Green Revolution in Africa, says Jeffrey Sachs
“The only silver lining in this (crisis) is – I even hate the idea of using that – is that it has made more people aware of the things that can be done, like the green revolution. I am not a believer in waiting for crises to get things done. I think it’s an absolutely ridiculous part of our character, but when we do have the crisis, at least it’s true that there is more discussion about agriculture the last months than there was in eight years!”

Hundreds of people, seemingly knowledgable in their field, sit down over a seven-year period and can’t come to an agreement; even though people are starving, and banks are tottering, and simple, sincere people (the world over) are losing hope . . .

What’s missing?

One thing that needs to be adjusted in the equation is to strike out the terms referring to Third World. Far as I can figure out, we have one world.

Next, terms need to be incorporated so the job of production becomes integrated globally—not the “us”/”them” situation we have. This will free enormous creative resources for solving our other crises.

“Economic development strategies employed by the United Nations, the World Bank and a number of governments during the last fifty years, however sincerely conceived and executed, have fallen far short of aspirations. In much of the world, the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” has widened and is accelerating with the persistent disparity in income levels. Social problems have not subsided. In fact, crime and disease are not just on the rise; they are also becoming endemic and more difficult to combat.

“These failures can be traced to a number of factors. They include a misplaced focus on large-scale projects and bureaucratic over-centralization, unjust terms of international trade, a pervasive corruption that has been allowed to flourish throughout the system, the exclusion of women from the decision-making processes at all levels, a general inability to ensure that resources reach the poor, and the diversion of development resources into military hardware.

“A dispassionate examination of these factors betrays a common systematic and fundamental flaw in the current paradigm for economic development: material needs are often addressed without taking into account the spiritual factors and their motivating power….

“Because of the spiritually damaging nature of dependency, schemes which focus solely on redistributing material wealth are doomed to failure in the long run. Distribution of wealth must be approached in an efficient and equitable manner. In fact, it must be intimately integrated with the process of wealth creation.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Oct, Turning Point For All Nations

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