Slander most vile

The implication is obvious, the innuendo palpable, the casual arrogance of certainty in the headline reading like an open-and-shut case.

Bias done it, in the birthing unit, by withholding the resuscitation machine.

When I first saw the headline in a newspaper I immediately assumed it was just another lazy attempt at clickbait by another bored sub-editor, the handiwork of pressarazzi who, like their camera-toting cousins in the paparazzi, it seems are always looking for the lowest angle to advance their wares, the paparazzi angling for the crotch-shot, the pressarazzi for the racism shot, both knowing, as does the sewer rat, that best feeding is the reward for getting closest to filth.  

As in the opening of Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder Most Foul’ I believed the initial suspect was easily adduced but, as in the movie plot, my initial hunch was misleading.

The perpetrators of this slander most vile are actually the authors of the report behind the newspaper story, and it is a truly filthy slander, because despite there being no argument that statistical aberrations occur between groups of mothers in comparing particular predetermined cohorts, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever in the report to insult the hard-working clinicians in the front line of life-saving neonatal intensive care units with the awful charge alleged; none.

The little omission of any evidence whatsoever intensifies the vileness of the slander because, while these well-qualified specialists responsible for the report spend the best part of the opening congratulating themselves on their own dedication to the difficult task they are engaged in. Whilst acknowledging the heavy emotional burden of premature birth, and awful death, they flippantly toss the accusation of racism onto the report; not once, not twice, but three times, before admitting “the reasons for these differences by ethnicity have not been elucidated in the analyses in this report”.

The report further offers personal insult to the human face of the neonatal care units, many of whom become almost as closely emotionally invested in the outcome of their charges survival as the parents and family of the newborn.  It treats those very good people as no more than the unfortunate fodder of their chest-beating evidence-bereft racism claims, explicitly asserting the need for frontline staff to undergo “cultural competency training of all individuals working across all areas of the maternity and neonatal workforce” as if they are guilty as charged, without trial.

The unfair, unfounded accusations of racism in this report are indeed foul and insulting to the entire country’s dedicated neonatal medical staff and deeply hurtful. Truly a slander and truly vile.

The authors should hang their heads in shame.


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Living in Wellington idbkiwi is self-employed in a non-governmental role which suits his masochistic tendencies. He watches very little television, preferring to read or research, but still subscribes to the daily paper despite his distillation of dismay and disappointment at the very low standards of the modern press on every opening of the awful rag.

He is married, to an obviously very unfortunate woman, and has a family who allegedly loves him despite his right-wing nut-job views on life and the meaning of. He believes laughter is the best medicine for whatever ails you, closely, very closely, followed by wine. He hopes to reach retirement, both alive and eventually.

To read my previous articles click on my name in blue.

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