Perception is reality

The news — e.g. the commentary that you see on the TV or read in newspapers and magazines is a commodity and just like any other kind of commodity it is perishable and thus must be sold by its sell-by date. By ‘sold’ I mean distributed or broadcast. Describing the ‘news’ as a commodity that is bought and sold may sound counter-intuitive but it’s true and because of its perishability, there is a constant pressure to be the first to market with breaking news — whether it be a memorable headline or just the first to publish. The problem with this is that sometimes, reality gets distorted to the point whereby what is being consumed by you as a reader or viewer can often be far removed from the reality on the ground. Anyone from Ireland who was around in the Eighties and Nineties will no doubt remember having exchanges with their American cousins who were often under the distinct impression in many cases that the whole island of Ireland was at war despite the fact that much of the violence was very localised. Having said that: if you were living in Portland, Oregon for example, and 5,000 miles removed from the reality on the ground in Ireland, you could be forgiven for thinking that a bomb going off in Belfast was too close for comfort, just 90 miles away from Dublin! The point I’m trying to make here is that things often get magnified and distorted through the lens of the voracious 24/7 news-feed.

A good case in point is Egypt. Yes, Egypt is having problems and yes, there are security issues and yes, there have been a few terrible and unfortunate incidents in recent times but is that reason enough to totally discount a whole country that is more than a million square kilometres in size or roughly 25 times the size of Ireland with a population of 90 million? Although Egypt is a Muslim country it has always been extremely secular and has always faced West rather than East. Egyptians are wonderful, friendly people in my experience and it would be a double tragedy indeed if their country suffered economic hardship on top of all the other indignities of recent times simply because of the knee-jerk reaction of tourists basing their decisions on incomplete or distorted information. The jewel in the Egyptian tourism crown, Sharm el Sheikh, is still very much open for business and the deals on offer at the moment from Egyptian specialists such as Red Sea Holidays in Dublin represent excellent value for money so any cash-strapped consumers looking to get away to the sun this year but who don’t want to compromise on standards would do well to check out what is currently on offer!

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