[...] “Today the buzz word is no longer ‘good government’ but ‘good governance,’” writes the estimable Selwyn Ryan in a http://www.trinidadexpress.com story titled The media in the era of the permanent campaign
In pursuit of the latter, citizens are encouraged to participate in a continuous way in the political process. No longer is it satisfactory for a government to argue that results are what matter and that the people should trust them to do what is right for the country. Process was now as important as product. Government is seen to be too important a commodity to be left solely to politicians. All over the world, and not only in Trinidad and Tobago, people distrust politicians who are generally believed to be concerned primarily with their own personal or group interest. “Trust” and “politicians” are oxymorons.
The new role assigned to citizens has forced politicians and political parties to campaign on a continuous basis. The term, ‘permanent campaign’ was used to define what governing elites believed they had to do to get their programmes enacted into law and also to maintain their ratings. In the new political paradigm, politics becomes a media war between prosecutory “gotcha” journalists and executive flacks, an event in which the laws of political gravity have to be reversed or neutralised. In this environment, the line between news and propaganda becomes blurred and the media function more like opinionated pressure groups than conveyor belts along which “information” flows. News has to be laundered, sanitised, and packaged, and spun before it is made available for public consumption. Pundits have to be engaged, coddled and entertained to ensure their overall loyally to the brand [...]