the unfortunate spin of 2016 presidentiable mar roxas
we saw the above tweet by philippine daily inquirer this morning. the strong coffee we were drinking was no match to that tweet waking us up.
first thing that popped in my mind was – “what? wow is roxas that rich that he will ‘give P4B to survivors’?”. i thought roxas would be the biggest individual donor to yolanda survivors. i thought roxas deserves a monument with his P4B donation to yolanda survivors.
i immediately clicked the PDI (philippine daily inquirer) link to read the full article and this was what we found out – contrary to the headline of the article, the P4B that “roxas will give to survivors” is not coming from his own pocket but actually from the government.
that headline surely and very strongly communicated the P4B was coming from mar roxas’ own pocket not from any government fund or government project.
the words said it (“Roxas to give P4B for survivors“) and not only that the lead-in to the headline also reinforced it – “Christmas in Lent”. that lead-in clearly says it is like some christmas present that roxas is giving to the survivors.
(full article here : http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/593735/christmas-in-lent-roxas-to-give-p4b-for-survivors)
all that of course is incorrect. in fact the whole article talked about the funds coming from government funds. there was nothing at all in the article where it said it will come from the personal funds of roxas but all of it from the government.
it feels like two different people handled this article – the person who wrote the article is a different person who wrote the headline.
The P4 billion is apart from the almost P1.8 billion in rehabilitation funds that the government has started distributing to typhoon-stricken cities and municipalities in three regions in the Visayas, Roxas said at an orientation seminar on the Recovery Assistance on Yolanda here.
so what happened there?
we think the misleading headline is the result of some PR work from Mar Roxas for the 2016 presidential campaign. the roxas campaign was able to get to the PDI reporter and/or the PDI desk editor on this one. often, the desk editor is the one responsible for writing the headlines for articles submitted by field reporters to the “desk”. the desk editor also has the prerogative to rewrite or add things to the article from the original that reporters write.
it is either the roxas PR team got to them or the PDI writer and/or desk editor somehow found it smart to write a misleading headline on their own. of course the first part is speculation on our part and perhaps even the second one too.
to be fair the PDI is one of the most if not the most difficult to do PR work with. they are very independent will write and publish what they want regardless of who it is trying to influence them.
we suspect that this was PR spin for two reasons – (a) the framing of the fund release is highly suspect, it was being framed as like a christmas gift (“christmas in lent”) and (b) “roxas giving P4B” is an idea that is not at all in the article. it does feel very much that the one who wrote the article is not the same person who wrote the headline.
on the first one, the closest that to the framing of a “christmas gift” was what roxas said was this which was in the article:
“Advance Happy Easter. May you spend your money wisely to help your [constituents],” Roxas told local officials of Capiz as he handed over more than P200 million in rehabilitation aid for his home province.
roxas mentioned “happy easter” but somehow the framing morphed into a “christmas gift”. “framing of messages” to favor or skew the message to a particular person or group is typically done by PR practitioners, not editors of newspapers. in this one, it is obvious the effort was meant for the benefit of mar roxas.
the other part of this is that we think saying the money is some kind of “gift” we feel is very insulting and degrading to the survivors. gifts, specially christmas gifts are a happy occasion and a source of joy, something that is given willingly. these funds are not at all in that context, the funds for the rehabilitation of destroyed properties of people. the people suffered and lost a lot. this is being received as a gift in the context of Christmas joy, it is aid or help to the misery that the people had to endure and are still enduring.
we understand mar roxas has plans to run for president in 2016 and by the looks of it the campaign period has already started with efforts already being done by his main competitor, vice president binay.
with that we also understand that there should now be PR efforts for the presdinetiables, but we think this kind of PR effort for the presdientiable mar roxas is very much misplaced and incorrect from a marketing and political campaign point of view.
if we are right about this being spin for the mar roxas campaing, then we think the campaign has not developed and is not following a strategic plan for the roxas campaign. that is a very dangerous lack and can hurt the presdientiable roxas.