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Radio announcers need to be much more responsible

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22.Jan.10

Editor: Last New Year’s Eve’s fatal vehicular accident at Argyle was a sad day for all Vincentians. I, therefore, take this opportunity to extend heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the bereaved and otherwise affected families. For all intents and purposes, no sane person drives to create an accident. However, human errors and the imperfection of man-made resources dictate against our many great intentions. It is, therefore, imperative that we approach each day with due care.{{more}}

On the road of life, everyone is headed in the same direction, but will not get there at the same time. This is mainly due to individual preferences and the vagaries of Mother Nature. It is phenomena like these that make life so intriguing and unpredictable. It is against this backdrop that I wish to pen my dissatisfaction/disgust at the way in which an immensely popular radio personality covered/handled the Argyle debacle.

I was amused while listening to the morning programme hosted by the said radio announcer on Tuesday, January 5, 2010. My amusement quickly turned to bewilderment, then utter shock during the call-in segment of the said programme. Whipped in a frenzy, the callers proceeded to bash the hapless driver. This was in total support of the radio announcer who stirred these emotionally charged callers into a tirade of illogical outbursts. This scathing attack went unabated until a female caller dared to come to the defence of the driver.

It was at that point the radio announcer launched an unwarranted attack on the brave woman. She was referred to as ‘a nincompoop’ and ‘dotish fool’. And what was her crime? She was guilty of projecting an opposing view point. It is extremely dangerous when a journalist who is supposed to uphold journalistic integrity gauges his audience’s emotion, whipping them into a dangerous frenzy.

Stop disrespecting contrary opinions

No doubt local journalists, especially radio announcers, need to be more responsible and appreciate their awesome powers. Your primary duty is to educate and entertain. Stop disrespecting contrary opinions and avoid feeding on the emotions of a sometimes naïve listening audience! You should seek to present facts by disseminating unadulterated information.

My take on the fatal vehicular accident is simple; the driver is innocent until proven otherwise. Any announcer worth his salt would have probed questions to elicit whether or not there was any incoming traffic at the time of the accident. He would have gone to any length to ensure that he gets a witness to the accident to give a firsthand description of what transpired. This would have given his captive listening audience a better insight of what took place on that fateful Friday morning.

However, to the announcer’s credit, his handling of the driver’s statement to the press was spot on. He did postulate on the driver’s folly in defending his “death ride” to a local weekly. Indeed, there is common sense in observing arrest rights read by law officers. Anything said during this procedure can most certainly be used against suspects in the court of law. Much to his chagrin, the driver of mini-van Big One may find this statement ominously true.

The fact that everyone (including the radio announcer) has become an overnight expert on traffic procedures and laws compels me to forward the following questions:

1. How does one determine what is speeding?

2. What constitutes dangerous driving?

3. Are local drivers aware of the various speed limit regulations?

4. Is there any driver who honestly does not speed on the new Argyle road?

There is a definite need for proactive traffic laws in this country. In that way we can get to close the stable’s gate before the horse bolts. I leave the suggestions to the experts in this field in which I am confident there is an abundance.

Collin CA$H Haywood

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