It’s long been said that in an epidemic, leaders must be open and honest to retain credibility. Public health planning always preaches this. Unfortunately, the Iowa Department of Public Health’s media relations experts failed to explain this to the governor.
The shelter-in-place scoring matrix is a prime example. The governor kept talking about cryptic “metrics.” Then it leaked: there’s actually a scoring system.
Why didn’t someone in IDPH media relations just release this rubric? They worked with experts at the University of Iowa to develop it. Now Dr. Anthony Fauci has seen it, he seems OK with the ideas.
Because the IDPH media advisers didn’t tell the governor to be more open, she irritated the press and confused the public for weeks. She appeared to be either hiding things or flying by the seat of her pants.
The IDPH media relations team seems to have a hard time managing the traditional media, let alone handling opinion on social media. Because of the failures, reporters have cast doubt on the governor’s truthfulness and social media has been full of overexcited posts.
It is too bad, because once people lose confidence in what political leaders say during an epidemic, it is very hard to regain the trust.