This week we see another example of the power of the media and how perception can often trump reality when the seemingly innocent young missing girl, turns out to be anything but that. In addition, the twist and turns of this episode’s plot highlights many of the reasons why many exhibit such cynicism toward what motivates government officials today. While these days it may seem that there are very few people who seem to have any character or exert the kind of behavior we would expect of our officials, in truth there are plenty of good, decent, moral people in the government.
We all may have skeletons or at least a few bones in the closet but I believe the majority of people in Washington, DC are there to make a difference – within the existing structure and rules of our laws and governments. Are there plenty of greedy people? Yes. Ego, pomp and arrogance are not in short supply but neither are honesty, hard work, and empathy. I don’t consider, as a whole, that the politicians of today are less wholesome, less worthy, or of a lesser character than those from the past.
The difference today is the extent of information available to the public and the continual immediate media platforms available to communicate a message. Quite simply, that factor makes is more difficult today to hide the truth and with so many sources of information and voices expressing opinion or fact, it opens up the nearly endless venues for attack. In this environment we often form opinions of individuals, groups, actions without ever seeing or hearing from the focus of attention, which can have a huge effect on shaping public opinion.
While the political world is much the same as it ever was, technology has placed it in a more open light both to reveal and to manipulate. It is almost impossible to hide actions, words or incidents today and we will see how long the conspiracy that is hinted at towards the end of the episode can remain a secret.
Judy A. Smith is the founder and President of Smith and Company, a leading strategic and crisis communications firm with offices in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles as well as a Co-Executive Producer of ABC's Scandal. You can follow her on Twitter (@JudySmith_) or "Like" her on Facebook, and you can get more information about managing personal and professional crisis situations by visiting her site, judysmith.com.