Is honesty the best policy?
Sitting around the dinner table last night my family and I were having a typical ‘solve the problems of the worlds’ conversation over a few glasses of red and the topic of respecting politicians came up.
Everyone around the table had some very valid points, but the one consensus that surfaced, regardless of political persuasion, age or gender, was that the Prime Minister of Australia should be referred to as just that, ‘Prime Minister’.
This may sound odd at first, but there have been several examples in recent media coverage, especially in interviews and even in the leader’s debate held a few weeks back, where political commentators are referring to the prime minister as Julia, or Ms Gillard.
The dialogue between politicians and members of the media seems to have evolved. There appears to be more banter, brazen comments, questions and innuendo, as well as moments of utter premeditated humiliation.
As the youngest member of last night’s ‘family’ debate it lead me to question whether politicians have bought this predicament upon themselves? Do they warrant as much respect as they used to, in the ‘good ol’ days’? I was quickly reminded of a time when slogans such as, ‘Keeping the bastards honest’ echoed throughout political campaigns.
My recollection of political history is obviously filtered through the views of my parents and elders so I don’t assume to have objectivity, but in this current political climate I can’t help but feel like the ‘strategies’ used by politicians in their media/political campaigns are so cautious, contrived and self-edited that it does breed a seed of resentment. Are we expected to just lap it up without question?
The same can be said in day-to-day PR campaigns not just political PR. Is it better to offer the public honesty and transparency and take a risk by humanising your organisation and making it somewhat vulnerable? Or do you play it safe and treat the public like the ignorant masses and assume they won’t question what they’re not told?
I would like to think there are still a majority of people out there that don’t take information on face value and that honesty in communication is paramount. There seems to be a focus on how you say it, rather than what you say these days- I think both are equally important.
I love it when I can put an Oscar Wilde quote in context, so let’s finish on this pearler… “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.”
Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 – 1900)
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