The concept of not shooting the messenger who bears bad news has ancient roots, though it’s always up for interpretation. For example, note Vladimir Putin’s advisers, who, just weeks ago, were afraid of relaying bad news to Russia’s leader, per U.S. intelligence. Also not long ago, local government officials in Wuhan, China, allegedly understood the professional and personal risk of sending reports to Beijing about a sickness they’d observed. Their reluctance, in Oct.-Nov. 2019, allegedly gave Covid-19 a head-start of weeks on what became a global killing spree.
Plutarch (circa 46-119), in his book “Lives,” writes of Tigranes II (95-55 BC), king of Armenia, beheading a messenger for informing him about an advancing enemy force. Similarly, Shakespeare mentions characters wanting to kill messengers carrying bad news, though they don’t go through with it.
Some communicators can relate. They’re crafting messages about price hikes as the global economy experiences inflation.
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