Media Management 101

At MyThinks we do our best to try to deliver you the best information we can on a range of different issues. This week we’ve managed to track down Doctor Pantalon Mouillé, an expert in media management. He has been kind enough to give us a few ideas about how to manage the fallout from a scandal or the uncovering of severe incompetence. 

I’ve been asked by Mr. Thinks to talk about issues – in particular, why those issues that would normally lead to members of the public being charged with fraud end up getting politicians in the National Party re-elected. Or, at the very worst, a stationing in New Zealand House in London as our special wine and cheese envoy.

There are several things people need to remember. Firstly, the same people who own the newspapers also attend the same private clubs / boarding schools / Federated Farmers meetings / secret masonic societies as the members of the National Party. This makes the likelihood of an issue seeing the light of day in the first place virtually impossible. This makes my job a lot easier.

An issue faced by a Minister of the government will only start making the headlines if the newspaper proprietors decide the scandal is going to sell papers (these days, with the Internet and websites and stuff, we might refer to this as click bait). At this point it is desirable to have someone like Mike Hoskings, a well-respected broadcaster, to tell people how they should think about the issue. I generally instruct the Prime Minister, or National Party person involved, to get in touch with Hoskins – usually at a luxury car dealership in Parnell – and tell him what he should tell the public. Hosking will then use his commentary piece at the end of Seven Sharp to let New Zealand know there really is nothing going on and, even if their was, there wouldn’t be.

The other thing a National Party politician or his media lapdog can do is launch a tirade of abuse against the person making the allegations. Abusive words I advise my politicians to use include hippy, wet fish, left-wing pinko, unionist, communist, hippy communist, developmentally delayed or Winston Peters. This is an excellent two-fold strategy as it belittles the person making the allegations without actually answering the allegations in the first place.

So let’s say the continued assurances of the National Party leadership and Mike Hoskigs aren’t enough for the public. What if the issue becomes a full-blown scandal with many sections of the public, opposition and media asking for an inquiry? What should the affected party do? There are two key things any self-respecting National Party politician will do in this instance – appoint an expert with very close links to the party to hold an inquiry and then have this person spend months carrying out the inquiry. By the time the results are released, the news cycle has moved on and people will have forgotten what the original problem was.

It’s all very simple really.

And if all else fails you can confidently announce that you’ve talked with your people and you are sure it’s all, “…pretty legal.”

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