It was pretty amusing to hear the propaganda secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) accuse key operatives of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) of having thoroughly brainwashed Ghanaian journalists against the Atta-Mills government (“NPP Has Brainwashed the Ghanaian Media –Quashigah” Ghanaweb.com 9/15/10).
It goes without saying that the accusation itself is far less troubling than the insight that it provides the public vis-à-vis the very low opinion in which Mr. Richard Quashigah appears to hold both Ghanaian journalists and the citizenry at large. On the foregoing score are two insolent assumptions, neither of which dignifies either Mr. Quashigah or the party machine activists who either appointed or elected the NDC propaganda secretary.
The first assumption points to Mr. Quashigah’s firm belief that, indeed, most Ghanaian journalists are so poorly trained that they are woefully incapable of thinking for themselves vis-à-vis the abject state of affairs into which the National Democratic Congress government has plunged the nation. On the latter score one, naturally, wonders precisely what the NDC chief propagandist is talking about, since the bulk of many an active Ghanaian media practitioner was trained under the watch of the P/NDC governments, both of which were headed by Mr. Jerry John Rawlings, the founding-pontiff of the National Democratic Congress.
In other words, rather than facilely and vacuously blame a supposedly easily brainwashed crop of Ghanaian journalists, Mr. Quashigah ought to be blaming the kind of abjectly incompetent leadership that incubated and hatched that species of Ghanaian journalist who appears to be woefully incapable of sifting the proverbial gem of truth from the chaff, which Mr. Quashigah deems to constitute the veritable essence of our national media fare.
The second assumption, one that is almost inextricably interlinked with the first, is the equally insolent implication that the proverbial average Ghanaian citizen has the media doing most of her/his thinking for her/him. The latter case scenario, of course, attempts to cast the otherwise astute and morally reflective Ghanaian citizen in the mold of a zombie, a virtual somnambulistic entity with neither a humanly recognizable soul nor cranial capacity. Needless to say, it is this kind of arrogance which makes unconscionable NDC operatives like Mr. Quashigah convince themselves, however unpardonably falsely, that the NDC is the only political party and government of the land that is uniquely endowed with the political wherewithal to take Ghanaians to the Biblical promised land, and that anybody who dares to challenge such blasphemous missionary arrogation is, perforce, an enemy of both the people and the State.
Of course, what the key operatives of the NDC are not told often enough, perhaps largely because their ideological opponents tend to envisage their gross administrative incompetence as one that is too obvious for all Ghanaians to see, is the fact that short of raw intimidation and pontifical self-righteousness, there is a piddling little that the NDC has to offer well-meaning and level-headed Ghanaians. And this, of course, is primarily what explains the necessity of establishing a propaganda department and having a congenital liar like Mr. Quashigah run the same.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and the author, most recently, of “The Obama Serenades” (Lulu.com, 2011).