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Mahna Manannan and other Muppets

Manannan's Review

Manannan’s Review

Here’s something I find a source of fascination on the Isle of Man: the obsessive-compulsive anonymous social media loons proclaiming themselves “news sources” or “commentators”.

The latest example is from Mannanan himself, an ancient Celtic sea god and tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist who loves referring to himself in the third person.

His latest “scoop” is about Garff candidate Daphne Caine.
Let’s get the disclosure out of the way. I know Daphne from my career as a journalist on the Island, although I’ve never worked with her. She left Isle of Man Newspapers before I started there as a reporter. And no, I haven’t been hired to astroturf her campaign.
This post isn’t about her, but rather about the inconsistent logic and factual inaccuracies of social media blowhards.

Load of old symbolics

Let’s begin at the beginning. Manannan noticed Daphne is a government press officer who used to work at Isle of Man Newspapers.
Who’d ever imagine a journalism career could prepare you for the heady world of dealing with journalists? Who could envisage a situation where past experience makes you a good job candidate in your industry? Certainly not Manannan, who says “her career on the island is interesting in that it so perfectly symbolises the interrelationships between government and the press“.
Actually, it symbolises nothing; perfectly or otherwise. It may, in fact, exemplify something. But, well, whatever, right?
And those “interrelationships” (sic) “between government and the press“?
Well, he opines: “It is interesting to note that these interrelations between civil servants, politicians and the press is perhaps why elected officials have struggled in recent years to come to terms with social media comment. After all, commentators on social media are not so easily tamed within the working structures in which relations between press, civil servants and elected officials appear so very cosy indeed.
Have elected officials struggled with social media comment? The answer is “no”. It might be “yes” if you want to point to statements politicians have made about forums sites or the odd Facebook page, but you can count those controversies (and they’re only controversial to those who take themselves too seriously online) on one hand.
And how would “interrelations” (sic) between civil servants, politicians and press explain those storms in teacups? Even if they existed, there is no causality or correlation whatsoever between press relations and a politician’s criticism of the odd post on Facebook, Twitter or ManxForums. You’d think politicians never complained about their press coverage…

The self-importance of being earnest

I have to admit “commentators on social media are not so easily tamed” made me chuckle more than the rest of the post. Not just because of its pomposity, although the self-aggrandisement in thinking anybody would be interested in “taming” an anonymous Facebook and Twitter feed is pretty hilarious. But then, conspiracy theorists can’t imagine they’re not really all that important.
No, the real amusement is the wilful ignorance of how a newsroom operates – and the fundamentally flawed argument he puts forward. Put simply, it’s ill-informed. That ignorance is beautifully exemplified (not symbolised) when Manannan says “public sector pensions” are “the main structural problem that has concerned many island residents when candidates have been canvassing on the doorstep“.
Really? Because the candidates I’ve spoken to don’t back that up. That’s not what I’ve heard first-hand from those who are actually standing in September. And I’m willing to bet I’ve spoken to more would-be MHKs than Manannan has.
Not content with that, he continues: “In true establishment style Daphen” (sic) “Caine issued a statement for Isle of Man transport“.
Let me rephrase that so it makes more sense and is far more accurate: “An employee responsible for communicating with the press was asked by her manager to communicate with the press”.
Nothing to due with “true establishment style“. Unless you’re suffering some bonkers delusion about the establishment and being a Facebook outlaw, beyond its sinister reach.

The plot enthickenises

Manannan’s post continues: “Later it was reported that IOM Transport had suspended a driver.
Hold on a minute. How can you trust what was reported? The press has an overly cosy relationship with the government, doesn’t it? If I want the truth, surely I can only trust social media commentators who can’t be silenced. Except, of course, when they’re repeating what the “mainstream media” feeds them.
Come to think of it, wasn’t Big M reading an Isle of Man Newspapers article when he heroically discovered Daphne was a journalist before becoming a press officer? Smacks to me of a false-flag disinformation campaign by lizard-Illuminati journalists and the government’s Theosophical Masonic lodge. Wake up, sheeples!
How about finishing with the third-person rhetorical question: “Manannan asks, was that apology forthcoming Daphne?
Why would a press officer apologise? The content of a release isn’t the responsibility of those issuing it. The content of a newspaper isn’t the responsibility of the newsagent selling it. If you really think PR reps are responsible, you’ve fundamentally misunderstood how government works. And obviously never heard of “shooting the messenger”.
But of course, you don’t need to understand what you’re talking about if you’re anonymously grandstanding on social media.
Or, apparently, need to know the difference between “brakes” and “breaks”.
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