Politicians and political parties love media coverage.
The Journalist, a weekly paper, has featured PDP on its cover, directly or indirectly, in four of its last 8 issues.
Therefore, PDP must be happy. Right?
Not exactly. Every one of The Journalist’s stories on PDP during the last two months has a negative bias. And almost every one of them seems to be intended to undermine the PDP, and to discredit its president.
The Journalist began their 1st April cover story by telling readers that:
The talk in town is that Gasa MP, Damchoe Dorji, the only opposition member apart from the opposition leader, may not continue in the People’s Democratic Party should he decide to run in 2013. This will have huge implications, sources say.
“If Damchoe Dorji leaves PDP, this will badly dent the image and credibility of the party and its attempt to resuscitate itself,” said a civil servant. “This will also be a huge blow in particular to the Opposition Leader whose ability to lead will be under scrutiny.”
And in their editorial of the same issue, The Journalist writes that:
With their candidates switching parties and most PDP supporters not very keen to have the opposition leader Tshering Tobgay as the party president, 2013 does not seem to be as exciting as it should be for them.
The cover story of The Journalist’s last issue in April, on 29th April, focuses on PDP’s leadership problems. And most of that issue’s editorial is devoted to explaining why, because of PDP’s debts, the party may not be able to register for the 2013 elections.
Three weeks later, on 20th May, the day after the PDP’s general convention, The Journalist again featured PDP on its cover page, and again talked about the eminent demise of PDP. According to The Journalist, PDP’s new president, who is not trustworthy and who is not likeable, could be “presiding over its funeral”. The story goes on to say that, “almost all the capable candidates from the PDP have already left the party”, quoting unnamed “observers”.
The next week, on 27th May, The Journalist again devoted their cover page on PDP. But the party is painted as “almost a dead horse” and its president is portrayed as unable to lead. And again, The Journalist goes to great lengths to try to convince readers that most of PDP’s earlier candidates have left the party.
I’m flattered that The Journalist considers the PDP worthy of so much attention. Being featured no less than four times in barely two months on the cover of a weekly newspaper is noteworthy. But I’m amused at their determination considering that there’s so much real news competing for the nation’s attention. And I’m amused at their persistence in writing and rewriting the PDP obituary.
Thankfully, The Journalist is read by very few. And thankfully those who read it, don’t take their stories too seriously. It’s quite easy to spot what The Journalist is up to.