One year on, that venerable news agency Fox has run a feature on that venerable businessman/software magnate/drug developer and self-proclaimed wanted/ladies’ man John McAfee.
Hard to believe a year has gone by since all the drama and trashing of the Belize brand was making news around the world after the murder of Gregory Faull, a poor victim whose tragedy and the personal loss to his family and friends was overshadowed by the outlandish yet very effective behaviour of Mr McAfee.
If nothing else, Mr McAfee could teach courses on how to use the media and control the story to one’s advantage, which he did so with great skill, unfortunately to the detriment of Belize’s reputation and the tragedy of Mr Faull.
We don’t wish to sound negative about Mr McAfee or in any way disparage the man. We just wish that he’d picked another country to retire to after making his fortune.
Fox news did a good job in presenting Mr MacAfee’s side of the story, spending most of the article on that and threw in a few quotes from the Belizean authorities to give the story “balance”.
To quote from Fox:
“There’s no law in Belize,” McAfee told FoxNews.com. “It’s a pirate haven.”
“I’ve had an ongoing war with Belize for a year and a half,” McAfee added, claiming that an emissary tried to extort $2 million from him. When he refused, his first home in the country was ransacked and destroyed by a few dozen soldiers.
“He came back and asked if I reconsidered about giving them the ‘donation,’” he said.
Fox outlined Mr McAfee’s philanthropic nature
McAfee’s life reportedly took a dark turn in recent years from cybersecurity to drugs, guns, prostitution and violence beginning in 2008 after the death of a colleague. After selling his company, which created the first anti-virus software, for $100 million, he moved to Belize and attempted to pursue several new business ventures — including herbal medicine — to help save the Central American nation from poverty.
Gee, we thought Belize was doing pretty well as an upcoming tourist destination that even celebrities are flocking to. Creating and disseminating wild, unsubstantiated stories of Banana Republic strongarm extortion tactics and murderous police throughout the media and especially the internet seems to be a novel way to save a nation newly dependent on tourism from poverty.
But to each their own. Fox saw a story they liked and ran with it.
And let’s be fair. In 627 words they did give officials of Belize their chance to rebut, clarify or explain the charges Mr McAfee made.
All of some 48 words.
“Nothing has really changed. It’s not a closed case
“He is still a person of interest.”
“That would be a decision for the [police] commissioner to make,” Martinez said. “I think he has his reasons for not coming down, but we would still like to speak with him.”
We’re sure that with a bit more digging there would have been some official from the police or government to do a little better job of presenting their case and their interest in Mr McAfee.
Oh well, they say a day’s a long time in politics, and a year is forever in the media, and given Mr McAfee’s skill in this area, reportedly with plans for books, films, blogs and the like, we understand his interest in keeping the story alive.
And fortunately for Belize, if a picture’s worth a thousand words, one visit is worth a zillion, so really, the damage has been minimal. As they say, what you see is what you get.
And the majority of visitors love what they see and get, so all’s well, and we wish Mr McAfee all the best.
The truth, as they say, shall set you free….