Letters & Opinion, Sounding Off

Is This What It’s Come To?

Image of Rochelle Gonzales

I got a fright yesterday morning that had my stomach tied up in knots, and this was before I even had my first morning stretch or yawn.

What caused this fright? No, it wasn’t the sound of gunshots; there was no crying or shouting in or outside my house. No, I did not catch a glimpse of my mortal enemy, Itsy Bitsy Spider — it was my phone vibrating like crazy.

By now, you’re probably sucking your teeth and rolling your eyes, calling me a drama queen, but I swear I have a valid reason for being this paranoid over a vibrating phone.

In these times of rampant violence, frequent road fatalities and the incessant thirst for photos and videos of said tragedies, someone like me who is used to getting the odd message containing a morning prayer, will freak out and assume the worst when my phone is being blown up so early in the day.

I said a quick prayer, hoping that all my loved ones, family and friends were safe and sound. I prayed that no more lives were lost and that there was in fact no trouble. I prayed that it was just a super funny joke being laughed at.

Then I unlocked my phone and saw that I was tagged in a message by a dear friend…Phew!

When I opened that message, that feeling of dread that just flew away, came right back with a vengeance because the very first words I saw were “Malicious, Mean-Spirited and Truly Spiteful.”

Immediately, (jumping to stupidly premature conclusions) I thought, “What did I do?” Then I was like “Wait a minute, I didn’t do anything!” and then finally I thought, “Oh, gosh, please don’t tell me that someone has put my name in some nonsense!”

Of all trends for St. Lucians to get into, of all mothers of stupidity and ridiculousness for us Caribbean people to copy from the US and the likes, we had to go and pick the one that is bound to cause problems. We had to be a part of the “Fake News” trend.

Now, I will come back to the fright I had, but before that, let me just fill you in if you don’t already know about the fake news business.

For some time now, mainly in the US, some mischievous sprite will sit their bored self down and say, “Hmmm, I wonder whose life I can make miserable today, and which group of people I can send into a world of shock?!”

And so they formulate a dastardly story, type it up, post it to social media, watch others spread the rubbish without taking the due time to read their nonsense properly or question the source and investigate the story. They then sit back and enjoy the mayhem that has stemmed from their fabrication and the addiction for attention has been satisfied.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me go back to saying that this is what has reached our shores and, boy, oh boy, are those trolls achieving what they set out to achieve!

I get that to some this is a non-issue because one might say that this has been going on for some time now and, to an extent, it has been, but it has taken a new turn in terms of mischief.

The first one was when a story broke about the death of our beloved Carlton “Coaks” Cyril from ChèCampèche, where it was reported that he was involved in a vehicular collision and was killed on the spot. Imagine that!

As you might expect, this left fans, friends and loved ones in a state of shock and utter despair. That was, of course, until people started to call and he would answer jokingly: “This is Coaks speaking to you from Heaven” (He’d heard of the story and was quick to assure people that it was false).

But now back to my fright (by now I’m hoping that you could understand why I was frightened in the first place, right?). I took a second to calm down and then proceeded to read the post properly, and although it was not what I had feared, it was just as bad, but it just did not involve me.

You see, it was about another fake news story, but this time it was about soca songstress Nicole “Nicki” David.

I guess bored since the Coaks story died down, the troll moved over to David and reported that she was arrested at JFK Airport for drug trafficking. Sighhh…

Now one would think that the poorly-written article would make people think twice about giving it any serious thought. But nooo, like I said, pea-brained halfwits who are eager to spread untruths and hurt people in the process were just too happy to spread the post like wildfire, giving birth to the vilification of this innocent woman.

What reason do you have to tarnish the reputation of an innocent woman in that manner?

I know she is innocent because we know that the story is false, but the perpetrators behind this story have put a stain on David’s Web reputation because now, let’s say someone from overseas is looking to make a record with a St. Lucian soca star, when they come across this rubbish, what do you think the outcome will be?

I tell you, eh, while I am relieved that I was not involved, it is a crying shame that we are now hopping onto a bandwagon that was brought to life by Donald Trump and his paranoid mind.

People, not everything that comes out of the “big” countries is good; some things are better left alone and this stupid trend is one of them.

Rochelle entered the Media fraternity in May 2011 as a fresh-faced young woman with a passion for the English language, a thirst for worldly knowledge and a longing to inform the world of what was happening around them, whether it was good or bad.

She began as part of a small news team at Choice Television, which falls under the MediaZone umbrella. She was hired as one of the original members of the newly created Choice News Now team…Read full bio…

 

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