It is the social media age. Practically everyone with a smart phone is now a writer, an ‘editor’ and a publisher. Before now, there was one very important guy between the writer and the publisher. He was king of the newsroom. He was called ‘Editor’. His job was to make sure that whatever the public reads or hears was as much as possible factual and that there was balance in the story that his newspaper tells, or his radio or television station broadcasts.

Every great newspaper, radio or television station was built on credibility. It was the job of the editor to ask the critical questions: What? Who? Where? How? Why?… Without a good editor, a news organization may not just be selling what it considers “exclusive” or “breaking news”, it may in fact find out that it has bought a big sedition problem or a fat defamation suit. Journalism dealt with facts. There are no facts anymore. Every story now depends on who is telling it.

Very few people these days get their news from any newspaper. Very few, watch TV except for Telemundo, Zee World, African Magic and Premier League. People do not even talk anymore. They ‘chat’.

Go to any social gathering or even to a church service these days and everybody is typing on their cellphones, the ubiquitous little machines. They are ‘snapping’ photos, posting, ‘chatting’ or streaming. Everyone is spreading information for good or for bad with all the biases that human beings have. There are no rules anymore and anyone can be as nasty as he wants, as raw as he chooses and as hateful as he decides to be.

This has also become the age of shamelessness. There was a time when there was some agreement in society about what was wrong and unacceptable. It did not matter whether you were on the right or the left. It did not matter whether you were conservative or liberal. What was wrong was wrong. Not anymore!

Almost everyone has become a “content” producer. On your cellphone, there are reels and reels of crazy photos and crazy videos seeking your attention. The more shameless the presentation, the better! Young women are no longer worried about being naked or lurid. In fact, the more naked or lurid they are, the better. The key thing is to trend. If you are trending and your content is monetized, you laugh to the bank. Is there shame in being rich?

The pastors have also discovered that the biggest congregations are not in a church but on the internet and many are adapting. They have all launched their own social media operations and are being more and more dramatic. Some have become so dramatic that you are not sure whether they are preachers, jesters or comedians. The important thing for them is to trend. Once again, is there shame in being rich?

This is also the age of blogging and the ubiquitous propagandists. Under the right inducement, a propagandist can turn white to black or black to white and every man of power now has his group of propagandists.

It appears that it is no longer wrong if as a government official you steal billions of Naira belonging to the people. What appears to be shameful is if you leave the office without a fat bank account and money lodged in a foreign bank account. What if the EFCC comes after you? EFCC keh? Unleash your propagandists, and they will educate the world that you did not steal. You simply took what belongs to your people and you are being haunted because of your ethnic origin or political leaning! In fact, the lingua has changed dramatically. There is no stealing anymore. Everybody is ‘hustling’.

The world no longer sees a woman with a child out of wedlock to have done anything wrong. She will proudly announce to one and all that she is a single mother. Wearing thorn jeans is no longer shameful. It is trending fashion.

The season of shamelessness has also hit political behaviour.

Garry Hart was the frontline candidate of the US Democratic party for President of the United States in 1988. Suddenly, it became public that he had an extra-marital affair. Hart’s candidacy was torpedoed. He resigned.

What happened to John Edwards, the fledging politician, North Carolina Senator, Vice Presidential candidate and later, Democratic Presidential candidate in the U.S. elections? In 2008, he got caught in an extra-marital affair. That was the end of his political career.

The case of Eliot Spitzer, former Governor of New York, is not different. It was discovered that the very well-liked governor, tipped by many for the presidency, was patronizing prostitutes. Boom! That was the end of Spitzer’s political career.

Fast forward to May 2024: Former US President, Donald Trump, married to his third wife, is found guilty by a jury on 34 counts of sleeping with Stormy Daniels, a porn star, paying her off with the sum of $130,000, and falsifying the records to keep the information away from voters. After the verdict, Donald Trump, a self-professed billionaire is raking in millions of dollars from ordinary American citizens who are donating so he can be president again! This is after the same man has been found liable of sexually molesting a woman and ordered to pay hefty damages. The amazing thing is that the bulk of Trump supporters refer to themselves as Christian conservatives!

Of course, the ubiquitous propagandists have been fully unleased. Without evidence, they are telling everyone that the justice system has been weaponized and that it is President Biden that set up Donald Trump to be found guilty so as to derail his presidential campaign. The question they will not answer is: Did Trump do what he was accused of? I guess it does not matter. It is the age of shamelessness.


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