Upfront Communication May Offer Advantage in Agenda-Setting

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As politicians in the public sphere, whether communication is focused on the politician’s agenda, the intentions of the minority or majority party, focusing on the facts and the reality of the situation, could encourage the public listen without doubting your credibility or intentions. Looking at the agenda-setting theory, the intention is to focus on a select number of issues that will not only appear to be the most important at this time, but also to offer information and news that is not organized by the hierarchy that the media chooses. However, not disclosing information especially on sensitive cases or when a politician or group has been accused of something, will most likely overshadow the issues you want the public to embrace as well.

Instead of waiting for the media to inform the public of a mistake that you have overshadowed, giving updates may prevent more crippling backlash when the public hears of the accounts. In the Rob Porter case, the White House had issued those remarks that praised this man and his work. This action only weakened their credibility as it appeared immediately they were focused on dismissing the statements against him, instead of openly facing it.

Former president, Barack Obama stated there was no political influence in the FBI investigation in 2016. The following year, the Justice Department disclosed anti-Trump, pro-Clinton texts that a senior FBI official Peter Strzok exchanged with Lisa Page. They managed sensitive political investigations of those candidates. This probe redirects the media and agenda-setting by politicians as they try to prove their case.

Communicating these changes, even mistakes, will leave less debris to clean up than if you suppress and deter the focus from it. Your agenda ahead could be delayed or weakened with fixing damage you could have prevented- or at least lessened.

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