Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Controlling the Narrative

Just recently, Jian Ghomeshi—a Canadian broadcaster, producer, writer, and musician—was “placed on indefinite leave” and later “let go” by his employer (the CBC) for, according to sources, “conduct [CBC] could not be seen to defend” (source).  Jian then released a statement on Facebook that gave details concerning his behavior and maintained that the “encounters” in question were always consensual, and anyone who made comments to the contrary would be lying.  Like clockwork, allegations suggesting that Jian’s behavior was not consensual surfaced, with one stating that he choked and beat a New Brunswick woman.

Like any “story” involving a high-profile individual who is in the public eye, the various media outlets provided the public with “reports” or commentary on the matter.  Not being a fan of this type of news, I didn’t pay much attention to it until something caught my ear: The radio show host said something about “controlling the narrative.”

Now, before I continue, I want to make it clear that I am not commenting on the subject of the allegations and I am most definitely not choosing a side on the matter.  Rather, I am simply looking to discuss the subject of “controlling the narrative.”

The truth of the matter is the government, politicians, conglomerates, the media, and individuals always turn out “spinning” their stories, and this story serves as a reminder that we can’t trust anything that is presented to us in the media.  As Michael Wolff says, “Storytelling is now the highest form of commerce.  This process, occurring at the intersection of technology, pop culture, and millennial behavior, is ever more complicated and fast-changing, and consumes more and more time and resources, involving a wide-ranging search for talent.  It's a new business without a precise name yet” (source).

With each story, a web of lies is spun, and the hope is to catch in it as many people as possible, all just to "earn a quick buck."  At the end of it all, what can even remotely be considered close to the “truth” is and forever will be lost.  So to speak, the truth is a commodity.

It’s up to you whether to agree with me or not.  But, to me, it’s clear who we can attribute this new “reality” to, this “reality TV” approach to everything: Blame it on fast foods!

- B. J. T. Pepin