In the Washington Post Op Ed page this week, we were treated to an exhibit A of Corporate storytelling at its most disturbing:
Comcast and Time Warner merge, two disasters making one big disaster, according to Catherine Rampell- quoting the story that Comcast has the worst customer service story in the nation, closely followed by Time Warner. The Cable industry is a monopoly, so they can do what they want, Rampell says.
Richard Cohen on General Motors calls it a “Moral car Wreck” where we hear more about why GM decided that a recall to fix a part for 74 cents was deemed not a commercial proposition- while the new CEO claimed that this was the Old GM and she is the new GM. Coming in the wake of the record Toyota fine, one’s faith in our car makers stories should be a crisis of faith.
Below Cohen, we read Carter Eskew on Christie on Christie, and the investigation that he set up to impartially examine the bridge closing scandal- and the findings that Governor Christie was proud to announce, that his own commission exonerates him!!!!The fact that anyone could be so outrageous and seemingly get away with it, speaks to the degrading of any serious political narratives. The Grand Jury might have other ideas however.
Michael Gerson goes off about the Movie Noah and the outrage from religious conservatives that Noah is the not so righteous righteous man that God was relying on. Churches exert enormous pressure on how a story can be told because in their minds, Orthodoxy trumps Creativity. Echoes of a Taliban Mind.
On the side column, Rahm Emanuel attacks the GOP on their crazy early education story, claiming that they don’t have one. The page opposite mentions DC elections and Ukraine. What an array of story wrecks that have unraveled. We would spend days looking through an ocean of newsprint trying to find the pieces of Truth to see why it exploded into this mess.
Looking for some brighter news, the next day’s Washington Post arrives, but alas, it’s not much better. The news tells us all about the CIA lying about the intelligence that they claim was gained from torture. The report says this was fabricated. The side show is Senators fighting heads of departments. Meanwhile, the Malaysia Authorities now release the real transcript, and say that there could have been a mechanical malfunction, even though they like their first story that someone did it, even if they can’t find any suspects. We are still finding rubbish in the ocean that for a few hours, becomes the latest piece of the plane wreckage, until it becomes discarded fishing gear. If ever a corporate story mattered, it was this one, and yet how poorly the victims have been served while CNN enjoys new ratings.
Then, we read the headline, “GM Chief apologizes Little Else” next to “NSA confirms warrantless searches” next to “Japanese Lab falsifies data” next to “CIA and frayed trust” and finally “DC casts a vote for honesty” Phew, what a trip through the news in just two days. Is any signal coming through the noise?
You would have to say that there are not too many corporate stories that are working here. From the private to the public to the non for profit sectors, there is a crisis of confidence. No one tells honest human stories anymore- Everyone is making it up to cover it up, or to dress it up or to sex it up. And we are teaching corporate storytelling????? What are we teaching? This? I don’t think so.
The ethical piece surely has to become the heart of what we are doing. I wrote a piece last week asking- Has storytelling gone over to the dark side? We all have some soul searching to do.