In media training we tell our clients that they should never repeat an emotionally-charged negativism, even when denying it.
This, appearing on the cover of the latest edition of Tempo, is a very obvious reason why.
Former Armed Forces Chief General (Retired) Gatot Nurmayanto has been jockeying to get into big-time politics in the upcoming 2019 presidential elections. He’s been known to be courting lots of parties and factions to become the Vice president Candidate.
Here, he denies being a “Political Whore”.
What effect do you think that this denial will have on his image? When the front page quotes you as saying “I am not a political whore (literal translation of pelacur is prostitute) the only thing that such a denial does is to associate the idea you’ve just denied with you.
From now on, no one who’s seen the cover of the nation’s foremost politics and public affairs magazine can look at Gatot and not think “political Whore.”
Normally public figures make a mistake like this when they are trapped by journalists trying to provoke them or out to snare a good headline. The journalist might ask, for instance, “Some people say that your courtship of various politicians including Jokowi and the religious right makes you a political whore. What do you say to that?”
if that happens then Gatot should ideally frame his answer that is the antithesis of that idea with an answer such as, “I stand on my principles and my desire to serve the people. I’ll work with anyone who’s embraces similar values.” It’s not the best answer but it would avoid the “I am not a political whore headline.”
Ironically, however, the journalist at Tempo wasn’t even trolling for a sensationalist quote when Gatot exposed his vile thought. In Page 41 of the 2-8 April edition of Tempo the question put to him was: “Are you attracted to the idea of becoming President Jokowi’s aide?”.
So go figure how someone like this could have become the Chief of the Armed Forces in the first place. What total hand, eye or mind could have selected him to possibly lead brave sons and daughters of the republic into battle?
But there you have it. Indonesian politics is replete with little Gatots running everywhere, especially during this election season.
People often ask why we avoid taking on politicians and political parties as clients. The answer is simple: We didn’t but even if we advised and trained Gatot on what to say and how to say it would he have listened, or would the ego and bluster get in the way?