OPINION

Dangerous arrogance

The public relations counterattack launched by the conservative government to offset criticism primarily from the electronic media touched upon a crucial issue. It’s natural for the ruling party to come under fire. Yet criticism is not always well intentioned. In the old days, biased commentary reflected media backing for ideologically sympathetic parties. Now that ideological differences and political passions have began to dissipate, malicious attacks are most likely being orchestrated by the business interests that New Democracy is trying to dismantle. The problem is that the government does not always discriminate between good and base motives. Thus conservative cadres can often be heard lashing out at what they see as «unfair and malicious» criticism. Well-intentioned criticism can be mild or strong, depending on the size of the political blunders or omissions. Most importantly, criticism is judged on the grounds of credibility. Malicious attacks are easy to spot, for they are both overstated and groundless. As a result, ND has no reason to portray them as running a «campaign to undermine» the government. Nasty attacks failed to prevent ND from coming to power – so it’s highly unlikely they could topple it now. If that happened, the cause would be the government’s errors, not unfair criticism. The knee-jerk reaction of government officials to unfair criticism is hugely wrong-headed. Rebuffing legitimate criticism is a blunder of equal proportions. Some ND officials appear to be in a state of confusion and delusion over this issue. This is the first stage of arrogance. Ministers think themselves as infallible, elevating their ego above all criticism. All criticism is snubbed as malicious or directed by outside interests. But the ministers who share this view should be told to get off the train.