Charles Ramson’s response to Adam Harris article
I write in response to Adam Harris’s column published in the Kaieteur Newspaper on Sunday 18th April, 2011 captioned: Jagdeo hates professionalism. In my response, I shall identify the relevant points that Adam argues and I shall address each one in turn.
First, Harris stated that “the manner” in which President Jagdeo informed or reminded party members at the PPP’s county conference at the Diamond School on the 10th April 2011 that Harris was once the Editor of the PNC’s periodical publication the New Nation “(i)t was as if he was saying that I was a thief or a criminal of sorts”.
Harris’s statement here is incomplete and probably purposefully so. His statement would be complete had Harris stated “I INFERRED from the tone and manner of President Jagdeo’s statement that I was a thief or a criminal of sorts”. Most people would undoubtedly agree that the President, without intentionally implying, cannot be held responsible for the inference that Harris draws.
President Jagdeo and other key leaders of the PPP have a duty to teach, guide and protect (where necessary and equitable) other members of the party especially the younger members and he was merely fulfilling that duty.
Simply for the sake of completeness, I was present at this conference (Adam Harris was not) and President Jagdeo never said that Adam Harris was a “thief or a criminal of sorts” nor did I infer from the President’s statement that Adam Harris was a thief or a criminal of some sorts.
Second, Adam states “no other editor is seen as a criminal. Only me. It has to do with my professionalism”. This statement tied in with the caption “Jagdeo hates professionalism” is a fallacy of false cause or non sequitur. Allow me to elucidate. Adam’s fallacious argument at its simplest goes like this: I, Adam Harris, consider myself to be a professional (major premise); I, Adam Harris, do not believe that President Jagdeo likes me (minor premise); therefore, President Jagdeo hates all professionals (conclusion). This is one of the most ridiculous, perverse and obtuse inductive reasoning that I have ever seen or heard.
Third, Harris agues at the outset that reporters “are the ones behind the cameras, the microphones and the pen; they are the ones who put people in the news.” “Reporters are not supposed to make the news”. I agree with Harris here. But Harris is not merely a reporter. Harris is also the Editor in Chief of a mainstream newspaper and a columnist of the same newspaper. His weekly column has his picture in the newspaper and everyday on the website.
So, the public has a right to know about the background of Adam Harris and all Editors in Chief and columnists of any mainstream media house especially because of the “public good” service that mainstream media provide and its consequential role of shaping public opinion.
Fourth, Harris proceeds to list in a Curriculum Vitae-esk way the editorial positions he once held and holds currently. Let’s examine them vis a vis their editorial political slants: Editor of the New Nation: A PNC periodical newspaper; Editor in Chief during a PNC’s government of the state-owned Guyana Chronicle: a state owned newspapers which by necessity has a pro-government slant (so at that time Harris was editor: a pro-PNC slant); Editor of The Evening News for the VCT (not TVG): a pro-PNC and anti-PPP slant amplified by concluding commentaries by the erstwhile owner and erstwhile PNC MP Mr. Anthony Vieira; Editor of the Prime News (aired on HBTV channel 9 named after the late President H.D. Hoyte): a pro-PNC and anti-PPP slant. Am I noticing a trend here?
The remainder of the article (especially the references to the late President Janet Jagan, Donald Ramotar, Ralph Ramkarran and Moses Nagamootoo) is sophistry by the use of red herrings and argumentum verbosium. Apropos, Adam’s article underscores the exigency for the public to be informed or reminded of his background.
All newspapers have a conscious or subconscious editorial slant. The president was merely explaining the
a pro-PNC and anti-PPP slant. Am I noticing a trend here? The remainder of the article (especially the references to the late President Janet Jagan, Donald Ramotar, Ralph Ramkarran and Moses Nagamootoo) is sophistry by the use of red herrings and argumentum verbosium. Apropos, Adam’s article underscores the exigency for the public to be informed or reminded of his background. All newspapers have a conscious or subconscious editorial slant. The president was merely explaining the history of the Editor in Chief of the Kaieteur News, as it was recently confirmed, a newspaper with an owner who is an unapologetic and avowed anti-Jagdeo-ite.
Adam’s article is an affront to all the professionals that work for President Jagdeo, especially his ministers and advisors. The choices of government ministers and advisors are constitutionally the exclusive domain of the president. So if Adam Harris’s article was accurate then it would either mean that all of the government ministers were unprofessional or President Jagdeo hates all of them.
Today, we have professionals of all sorts, even professional comedians and even professional clowns. Fortunately, for my entertainment purposes, there are some columnists that fall squarely and snugly into both categories.
Charles S. Ramson Esq.
Editor’s note: Mr Ramson says that there are professionals who work for the President, especially his ministers and advisors. He adds, “Today we have professionals of all sorts, even professional comedians and even professional clowns.”
Are they the professionals who work for the President Jagdeo?