The government can sometimes feel like a toxic relationship with the amount of gaslighting we have to endure from certain officials. Tell us that we’re lying. We dare you.
This seems to be a common theme among leaders like presidents Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump. Both of them downplayed the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines and the US, respectively, reassuring everyone that there’s nothing to worry about. Once the situation worsened, they claimed that they’d warned everyone of the virus and changed their tone about how COVID-19 might worsen.
On the plus side, at least they didn’t play Brazil Pres. Jair Bolsonaro’s coronavirus-is-a-“fantasy” card when the number of cases started to rise. However, it’s still irresponsible for Duterte and Trump to make the public believe in false narratives and then pretend like they had things under control from the beginning. (Spoiler: The cases in the US and the Philippines say otherwise.)
If you’re just as exhausted with the government’s gaslighting as we are, we have a few tips for you:
Take screenshots of headlines and save article links of government officials’ previous statements. More often than not, you will find inconsistencies. Take Duterte’s Apr. 6 speech, for example: Netizens, including journalist Atom Araullo, have shared how he downplayed the pandemic and even made fun of citizens for taking precautions.
If possible, only show how our leaders are addressing the COVID-19 crisis
Twitter user @NievBuscayno shared an MSNBC news report where the reporter said they’re avoiding a portion of Trump’s speech where officials are defending the president instead of providing emergency information they promised. If possible, TV stations should follow this example since Duterte rambles in his speeches before talking about COVID-19 response updates and additional solutions.
If this can be done, the media space will only have Duterte’s response to the crisis and how it’s affecting his countrymen. No more BS.
Don’t stop voicing out your constructive criticism
We know it’s scary to speak up due to the National Bureau of Investigation summoning people for allegedly spreading “fake news.” But remember that as citizens we have the power to convince government officials and sectors to do better. (i.e. mass testing) Keep speaking and let other officials hear your concerns. They might just be the key in keeping our president in check if push comes to shove.