Portrait with dummy

Two events this week remind me that we cannot believe everything we see or hear. And perhaps more pointedly how much of a news story might we not hear.

In turn the omission of information can colour our impression without anything “false” being said.

Regular readers know I have written about how we view on the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport compared to the use of ADHD medications in exams and school. The latter is not seen as a problem whereas the former is seen as a big problem.

Australian readers will be familiar with the saga of Essendon and the alleged use of peptides.

I will admit to having bought into the view that illegal substances may well have been administered at the club. As with most people this is based on what I have gathered from the media.

Mea culpa! It seriously looks like I was wrong to believe the allegations.

It was with incredulity that I read on the weekend, explosive allegations of political interference. According to a report in The Weekend Australian officials of the Australian Football League were told that the Prime Ministers Office “wanted it to end”. By this we can assume she wanted the matter resolved.

What exactly has such an inquiry to do with the Prime Minister? And on what basis is pressure to be brought for it “to end”? Was it to do with an election being due before the end of the football season?

Other documents have officials talking of getting the outcome we need and taking out bits that might compromise what we need. And of assembling evidence in a way that paints a particular picture.

The court case starts today and will keep headline writers busy no doubt.

The second story is about the surrogacy case involving an Australian couple and a Thai surrogate mother. As days have gone by the story has gotten more confusing with different version coming from the couple, the surrogate and the agency that brought them together.

One version has the couple abandoning baby Gammy, another has them being told he only had a day to live and a third has the surrogate wanting to keep him.

To be honest I have no idea who or what to believe.

And that may be the point. Those of us not there at the time have only second hand information to go on and in turn, only, that which actually makes it into the media

There is a more substantive point though. The use of surrogates and couples going across international boundaries to get around local laws causes problems. As does the notion of paying for a child as one might pay for a car. Is it really so surprising that when people pay money they expect “goods “ to be in good order. When we commoditize children and have them delivered to order can we be that surprised if those paying have certain “expectations”?

The central problem is that babies have become commodities to be ordered, bought and sold. This occurs at the same time that millions of children need homes and languish in orphanages.

Ultimately the social engineers who have made adopting almost impossible have a lot to answer for. With adoption blocked, those who can afford it go for surrogacy. When local laws make this hard, those with the capacity to do so, go international.

As a parent I can empathize with those who would like children but cannot have them. However maybe, just maybe, this is life as it is. And that nobody has a “right” to have children any more than they have a “right” to run 100 metres in ten seconds.

Technology whilst a wonderful servant can also become an out of control monster. This is regardless of whether it is about passing exams, better sports performance or enhancing fertility.

It may be time for our society to reconsider its values.