Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Attention Journalists: generic article for international thinktank meetings

No family news to report. But, in light of the G8 summit, I came across this "generic article". With some small tweaks and insertion of additional detail it can be cut-and-pasted by anyone, journalists even, to report on just about any international crisis meeting. It's a bit like recycling Jesus conspiracy theories, although not quite as profitable. Credit to Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times, link here.

By reporters everywhere

An ineffectual international organisation yesterday issued a stark
warning about a situation it has absolutely no power to change, the
latest in a series of self-serving interventions by toothless
intergovernmental bodies.

“We are seriously concerned about this most serious outbreak of
seriousness,” said the head of the institution, either a former minister from a developing country or a mid-level European or American bureaucrat. “This is a wake-up call to the world. They must take on board the vital message that my organisation exists.”

The director of the body, based in one of New York, Washington or an agreeable Western European city, was speaking at its annual conference, at which ministers from around the world gather to wring their hands impotently about the most fashionable issue of the day. The organisation has sought to justify its almost completely fruitless existence by joining its many fellow talking-shops in highlighting whatever crisis has recently gained most coverage in the global media.

(Insert picture of relevant World Leader at a conference, named by a caption, preferably followed by the word "...yesterday". Here we have chosen Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez in front of some marble pillars which denotes some kind of important conference)

“Governments around the world must come together to combat whatever this year’s worrying situation has turned out to be,” the director said. “It is not yet time to panic, but if it goes on much further without my institution gaining some credit, preferably some sort of grant, for sounding off on the issue, we will be justified in labelling it a crisis.”

The organisation... has long been fighting a war of attrition against its own irrelevance. By making a big deal out of the fact that the world’s most salient topical issue will be placed on its agenda and then issuing a largely derivative annual report on the subject, it hopes to convey the entirely erroneous impression that it has any influence whatsoever on the situation.

The intervention follows a resounding call to action in the communiqué of the Group of [number goes here] countries at their recent summit in a remote place no-one had previously heard of. The G[number goes here] meeting was preceded by the familiar interminable and inconclusive
discussions about whether the G[number goes here] was sufficiently representative of the international community, or whether it should be expanded into a G[number plus 1, 2 or higher goes here] including China, India or any other scary emerging market country that attendees
cared to name.

The story was given further padding by a study from an ambulance-chasing thinktank, which warned that it would continue to convene media conferences and sue government departments
until its suicidal plan to counter whatever non-existent crisis was gathering had been given substantially undeserved attention.

Article ends with your name and the location of where you are reporting from to make your non-journalist friends envious about how you get to travel to really cool and dangerous places on Murdoch's/Packer's/Taxpayer's tab.

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