I’ll hopefully write a fuller piece later, but I just wanted to say a few words here.
I’m concerned for the people at the Sun, they’ve been excellent journalists and I consider quite a few of them friends.
I’m extremely saddened that there’s more people unemployed – 23 in this case I believe.
I’m extremely concerned about what this means for media diversity in Bermuda.
We now have just the RG, which is widely perceived (rightly or wrongly) as if not pro-OBA, then at least unable to engage in the type of journalism required to hold the Government accountable.
A clear case in point is that the investigative journalist who pretty much single-handedly broke the biggest political scandal of our times would appear to have been obstructed from pursuing his investigations while at the RG and, in fact, was kicked from the RG in late 2013.
While I’m not privy to the reasons for his departure, it does seem odd that the RG kicked him, and to many on the outside, his kicking looked like an attempt to silence the principal journalist that was actively seeking to hold the Government accountable (and he did the same under the PLP, but apparently that was okay…).
And with the revelations of #JetGate – which keep on coming – it seems that the RG either made a massive error in kicking him, or hoped that kicking him would silence the revelations. Again, whether that’s right or not is immaterial, that’s how it is increasingly being seen.
And while Mr Johnson pioneered the #JetGate story, the contributions of the Bermuda Sun cannot be denied.
Indeed, in some ways they were crucial, both helping give Mr Johnson a partial platform, and for reporting Mr Landow’s confirmation of sending funds, which provided at least partial evidence for Mr Johnson’s allegations. Mr Johnson provided the gunpowder, but the Sun helped with the spark.
Quite frankly, #JetGate would not have been revealed if left to the RG alone.
The Sun also provided a platform for diverse voices that have enriched our collective discourse, providing unique perspectives that the dominant narrative – which the RG was and is – largely omitted.
Our discourse is poorer now without the Sun. And more worryingly, our democracy is weaker.
We may have a stronger RG, but the power of the media is reduced with the loss of the Sun. It will be harder to hold our Government accountable, and with the dominant narrative of the RG strengthened, alternative voices are diminished.
This may end up a Pyrrhic victory for the RG though.
A Pyrrhic victory is a hollow victory – it is an illusion of victory that ultimately will be looked back as actually a defeat; or a victory where the costs are too great in hindsight.
The RG is strengthened, initially, as it has no competitor. But with no competitor it loses what dynamism it had. It has nothing to spur it to innovate or compete for readers with investigative journalism.
The Sun is setting after fifty years.
The question to me is whether this is symbolic of the sun setting on our democracy more generally?
I fear we may be in for a long and stormy night.
I have faith that the new dawn will come. I’m just not sure when, or what the night will bring.
See also Bermuda Blue’s initial reaction.