Peter Mutharika and newspapers are simply inseparable
Thomas Jefferson, United States’ third president, who served between the years 1800 and 1809, did not hide his disgust for newspapers but he is remembered for saying he “would rather have newspapers without government than government without newspapers.”
Decades later in the 1960s, another US president John Kennedy cancelled his subscription to the now-defunct New York Herald Tribune because he felt the newspaper was too biased against him.
But Kennedy was shocked when the flap hit the headlines and regretted the cancellation. His staff later brought him copies daily.
Asked recently by Steve Kroft of CBS whether he had settled into a routine, incumbent US President Barack Obama said:
“After the workout, have breakfast, read the papers, read my morning security briefing. And then I come down here and talk to our national security team. Then we talk to the economic team. After that, who knows? Anything goes. But – typically – between 7 and 10, I sort of know what I’m doing.”
“Read the papers,” he said. Not “read a paper.”
Former president George W. Bush famously said he did not read newspapers, and left it to his staff to provide him with what he called unbiased news. The first lady, Laura Bush, later said her husband was just bluffing. The couple actually read five national newspapers every morning, according to Laura.
Anywhere in the world, presidents usually have beef with newspapers.
But the president cannot afford to stop reading newspapers in his country as these have a special place in the work of the president as well as in any country. Newspapers act as guardians of the society. They help in developing public opinion, and act as a mirror of the society helps in forming of collective opinions
For presints and ordinary readers, newspaper are a key source of knowledge for any and every activity happening in and around the country. They read about the opinion and reviews, the editorials and feature articles to know about incidents and issues in detail.
The modern day papers have sections for letters to the editor section in which the reader can write about his grievances or appreciation about any report or incident in the society. The newspaper also informs about the political activities, the new laws or the sports and activities happening in the society.
The role of the newspaper goes beyond conveying information. Newspapers have done miraculous activity in recent years and shown that even in the age of internet and news portal, the radio and television, they have the ultimate power of influencing change and minds of the society.
They are powerful when it comes to fighting for justice and can change the government or help in punishing a criminal by simply acquiring public support and demanding justice. The newspaper is one of the major tools of a democracy.
Newspapers are an information link that connects and provides the glue that holds a nation together.
For a president to stay in touch with the people, he or she has to read local newspapers in addition to listening to the radio and watching television.
If the president doesn’t read newspapers, he would be disconnected with his people as it is through newspapers and other media outlets that the people speak to the president.
A president would always be better acquainted with the daily lives of the people if he read newspapers daily.
Cabinet ministers and presidential aides can never be brave enough and be willing to risk the president’s anger by dishing him the bad news. So they would usually tell the president what he wants to hear – the good news if there is any. Or they may just sugar coat the news that is tougher to swallow.
President Peter Mutharika was probably just bluffing when he claimed that he had stopped reading newspapers.
The newspapers may never be complimentary of the president but they are certainly a necessary evil for the nature of his job. They provide him with free and honest advise on national affairs which he would never get from anywhere else.
And he should never be angry with the critic is m subjected at him by the newspapers because that is just part of the game. It has been the case before and it will always be the same in future. It is his office that attracts the attention of the newspaper, so he shouldn’t take it personally.
The president needs to read the local daily newspapers every day as it is through the publications where he shares experiences with most Malawians. Stopping reading the newspapers would be taking himself out of the loop and a constructive resignation from the duties and responsibilities of the office of president.
So continue reading the newspapers and enjoy them Mr. President.
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