Communication is at the heart of all politics. The communication of ideas, the communication of values, and the communication of policies. A good politician will not only be a skilled policy maker, but a great communicator.
But the art of communication is sometimes not just about conveying information. Sometimes it is also about what is purposefully not communicated, or maybe even purposefully miscommunicated. The manipulation of information is at the heart of all bad politics.
Several times lately, I have heard details of three cases where government was purposefully preventing communication. When Gibson Guitars was raided by homeland security, they immediately ordered the plant to shut off all of their surveillance equipment. Another case was when a hospital disagreed with a standing diagnosis of a child by another doctor, they not only succeeded in having the child removed from her parents, but also successfully asked the court to order the parents to break all contact with the family’s priest. Just today, I learned a basketball player who was also a paid social media publicist was in trouble for having tweeted a selfie he took with the president.
In all three cases I don’t see the point in the action taken. If the raid on Gibson Guitars was being done in a lawful way, why prevent the details from being recorded? How was ordering a couple parents to cease contact with a family priest in anyone’s best interest? If the president shows a lack of discretion in who he takes a selfie with, why would anyone expect the other party to take that responsibility for him?
Who controls the flow of information is always critical, and without solid communication there is no accountability. When a society loses the ability to access factual data about their government and its activities, they cannot expect to remain free.