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Say you will, say you won’t

MORE than three decades into my journalistic career, and I have learned one thing for certain – most politicians will never change, and they can be chameleons, too. It would be naïve of me to expect to meet an honest, God-fearing politician who doesn’t lie, because that would be like hoping to see a unicorn.

It is standard operating procedure for them to blame the media when they fumble with their words or learn their comments have backfired, which typically generate angry responses from their constituents.

Their escape route is to deny or claim they have been misquoted, even though in this digital age, one only needs to Google to trace the pattern and train of thought of someone on a given subject through their sound bites.

When things go pear-shaped though, most politicians develop amnesia, or become linguistic acrobats to get themselves out of a tight spot.

Of course, some media will happily play the game – to put down the competitor – and unwittingly give the politician a free ride to wriggle out of a fix and justify his denial.

In the 1980s, a colleague told me about how a news article of his was refuted by a minister. He was so incensed he confronted the politician and played the recording of the interview to prove he had his facts right.

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