Think of something that truly repulses you. Hold that thought until your skin squirms. Now, write a glowing puff piece about its amazing merits.
When I was a young reporter my boss sent me one afternoon to cover a budget commission in the regional parliament with the instruction to stay there untill the end of the debate, no matter how long it would take.
The room had a big horseshoe-shaped table for the politicians from the different political parties, one squared table for the presidency in front and two smaller tables at the back for the journalists.
At the beginning the journalists tables were full. The politicians began debating item by item the budget with tense and nasty speeches, throwing accusations one to each other (we were in an electoral year) and dropping sentences to make headlines out of… nothing.
The matters under discussion were uninteresting and the session too long. There was nothing important to decide. Little by little the other journalists began to leave, pressed by their deadlines. But I had to stay till the end so I stayed alone.
Then, when I was almost dead of boredom while they continued with their endless debates and political skirmishes, one of the politicians situated just in front of me, looked at the tables of the journalists, saw them empty (he couldn’t see me) and said:
– Now that the journalists are gone we can vote the rest of the points without debate as we agreed.
All the efforts and signs by the president of the commission (who could see me taking notes) to warn that man that there was a journalist in the room were useless.
The most interesting sentence in for hours of debates was already recorded and written in my notepad. They tried to convince me not to mention that incident in my column but it was too late.
Why I wrote about that old anecdote? Maybe because I don’t like politicians, and this was a relatively naïf story about how they tried to play a double game and were discovered by chance.