Election time in the Netherlands…
Trying to find my way through the dozens of Dutch TV channels, it’s hard to find a programme without a politician in it. Not only do they appear in almost every talk show or news programme (as you would expect), but also in entertainment shows and even kiddy programmes. Really, would 5-year-olds influence their parents’ voting decision?
Last week - in a public debate broadcast live on television - right-wing party leader Rutte called his left-wing opponent Marijnissen anti-social. A few days earlier Ruling PM Balkenende (Christian democrats) calls his labour-opponent Bos a fidget.
Both times newspapers and TV shows pick it up and in the following days both politicians repeat their verbal attack several times.
A perception has been created.
Whether these allegations are true or not (I will not broadcast political opinions here) it once again shows the power of the media and how easily many people believe in what they say, almost without thinking for themselves.
More than ever political standpoints have been reduced to one-liners, parties have been replaced by one, maximum two faces (does anybody know the number three of the socialist party?), and spin doctors dictate the headlines.
Or as John Mayer sings in ‘Waiting for the world to change':
‘And when you trust your television
What you get is what you got
Cause when they own the information, oh
They can bend it all they want’
This Wednesday we will find out who has the best political agenda. Or should I say the best media trainer?