Messaging, Credibility, And Governance
Disseminating the news has always been thought of as being on the tail end of a sequence where actions and events take place with the officials, the personages (‘stars’ ) at the front end of an assembly line sequence of the reportage.
Their actions of society’s movers and shakers are seen and understood (covered) by the mass media which hopefully ‘process’ the information for the public in as responsible and fair manner as possible within their ‘deadlines’.
Meeting such deadlines traditionally meant reasonable enough time for the written/filmed accounts to be passed upon by the news editors/program producers who decide if the ‘products’ are ‘fit to print’ or ‘ready to air’.
This assembly line sequence, stressful as it already is, is longer as cut and dried.
Digital multi-media technology now rules the game, setting a 24/7 cycle for news to be reported as-it-happens not simply by ‘trained’ journalists but by citizens themselves.
So it is that in this excitingly free and brave new world that messaging has become the immutable part of governance, responsible and responsive governance.
We think that this is exactly why President Noynoy Aquino has assembled a top notch presidential communications group to run the former Office of the President with its component quad media attached agencies (print, radio, TV, new media).
It is also because of this that the President has multiple spokespersons at the same time that he’s letting each of his Cabinet secretaries to have department spokesman.
But there’s a caveat here.
The buck will still have to stop at the desk of the Chief Executive.
The public should not be bombarded with mixed, rough and tumble messages that can both confuse and create more troubling issues than they were meant to clarify.
Mixed messages helped along by an overly licentious and gossipy press (read irresponsible) can quite easily breed confusion and discord.
The fail-safe if not corrective element that will come into play is when the proposed Freedom of Information Act is enacted by the 15th Congress even though the measure was left out of the SONA.
Crafted and implemented properly, the freedom of information law will be a boon to both government accountability and transparency and bane to crooks and liars in government.
During GMA’s unlamented time, Malacanang’s credibility nose-dived not only because of the allegation of graft in the corridors of power but also under due to the lies that brazenly issued from its talking heads.