To speak is to listen: Livingstone and Outrage

Posted by Andy Gavin on Tue, 2006-02-28 13:03

The Mayor of London was recently suspended for a month by an adjudication panel over comments he made to a Jewish reporter. He likened the reporter to a concentration camp guard. It appears that Livingstone felt that he was a fascist, or at least the Evening Standard is. This case is not as simple as it first seems, the reporter may well have been a fan of Livingstone. But the mayor's dislike of the Evening Standard lead him to personally attack the reporter. The lack of diplomacy is not befitting a Mayor, is an understandable issue, but are such sensibilities compatible with being a journalist? It yet again raises the question of free speech and how it’s getting redefined, or perhaps re-remembered. As Winston Churchill once said:

Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people's idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.

As people communicate more a little bit more humbleness is needed, and a lot less righteousness. Listening is becoming a more valuable skill and a much needed in leaders these days. To lead is to serve is more than a catchphrase.

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