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In my search of the internet I found surprisingly few pithy old sayings about the bringer of bad news.

“No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.”

“A culture of ‘thinking positive’ so as to purge ‘negative people’ from the ranks…fed into the bubble-itis of the 2000s.”

“Don’t shoot the piano player; he’s doing the best he can.”

“Killing the messenger…”

“Attacking the messenger…”

“Blaming the bearer of bad tidings…”

“Nothing travels faster than light, with the possible exception of bad news, which follows its own rules.”

“Though it be honest, it is never good to bring bad news.”

“Nobody likes the bringer of bad news.”

“Bad news gets higher ratings and sells more papers than good news.”

“He who is laughing hasn’t heard the news yet.”

“News is almost by definition bad news.”

“I resent the idea that people would blame the messenger for the message, rather than looking at the content of the message itself.”

“To blame the press is the old thing of blaming the messenger for the message.”

“When people are smiling they are most receptive to almost anything you want to teach them.”

“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.”


This brief search was for my own education for bringing some bad news, because my “Probaway – Person of the Year” this year is going to be perceived as bad news by some people. From my perspective it will be stating a problem facing humanity, and which if not heeded in some responsible way will be painful to everyone. So the bad news isn’t just like a messenger bringing an unpleasant message to a King, it is bringing an unpleasant message to everyone. It was ever thus — the bringer of good news, even if it is false news is loved, and the bringer of bad news is reviled even if it is pure truth. Hopefully in the long run:

Truth will win after every avoidance of it has been tried.

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