General Secretary of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) George Pilgrim is sending a subtle warning to Barbadians to disregard media predictions of general election results.
Pilgrim, whose party is under pressure over a number of issues ranging from persistent water outages to the state of the economy, said the lesson coming out of Tuesday’s election in the United States was that voters should be wary of media that seek to influence the results of national elections.
Even amid a tightening race, the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was seen as the favourite to become the 45th president of the United States in a bitter struggle against the Republican Donald Trump.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY following a special tribute honouring former Prime Ministers Errol Barrow and Tom Adams at the St Ursuline Convent Wednesday, Pilgrim accused the media of engaging in a deliberate attempt to influence popular opinion.
However, he said Trump’s victory had turned the ploy on its head.
“It appeared as if the media had counted the votes before anyone had voted and it really demonstrates how media seeks to influence, frame and fashion the outcomes of activities within national interest. All of the channels that I watched, all the polls, all the models, all the analysis pointed to one winner. No matter where you turned the pundits all said that the winner was Hillary [Clinton]. How does one reconcile this against the background of the results?
“We all have to be wary of not being able to think for ourselves with respect to national outcomes of races of this nature, especially within the political context. It really demonstrates how media can attempt to determine the outcome of the process without even participating in the said process. That is the lesson that I would like us all to learn,” the DLP spokesman said.
Opinion polls here have placed the Opposition Barbados Labour Party ahead of the governing DLP in the race to become the next Government of Barbados in an election that is not due for over a year.
While Pilgrim did not make specific reference to any of these polls or media coverage of the Freundel Stuart administration, his comment suggested these issues were not far from his thinking.
Trump’s election has raised fears that his foreign policy will be driven by a nativist and isolationist agenda, with Russia as his closest ally.
His strong anti-immigration rhetoric during the campaign has also left many worried.
However, Pilgrim advised a “wait and see” approach, saying it was too early to predict how the Republican, who will have the support of both houses of congress, will govern.
“It’s still early to make pronouncements on those things. The president-elect has not even taken [the] oath of office. In all fairness we should allow the elected president to take his oath of office [before rushing to judgement],” the DLP spokesman stressed.