It's become a common feature for almost all governments with popularity problems to blame their troubles on poor communication rather than their policies. Spain's government is no exception to this, with the governing Partido Popular preparing a publicity campaign to attempt to justify Spain's disastrous economic course. Many of the PP's own supporters are deeply unhappy with some of the government's decisions, perhaps not surprising when you consider that Rajoy's administration has now broken almost every promise that the PP made before the elections. Party supporters are left trying to defend everything which they so loudly opposed when in opposition.
There is another aspect to the PP's strategy. The last few weeks have seen a growing chorus from government friendly media for something to be done about the state television company RTVE. Not having much of a democratic tradition means that Spain's right is unable to understand how a state owned broadcaster isn't directly supportive of their government. Any report which smacks too much of pluralism or which doesn't toe the party line is automatically accused of anti-PP bias. The right wing got their way last Friday, as the government changed the law concerning the appointment of RTVE's governing body so that they can put the corporation under their control.
It would be going too far to describe RTVE as being independent, but the situation that existed until Friday at least meant that a single party couldn't impose their political control. Zapatero's administration had changed the law in such a way that that two largest national parties had to agree a consensus candidate for the presidency of RTVE, and neither party could have an outright majority on the governing board. That goes out of the window now, if there is no agreement on a consensus candidate then the government can impose whoever they want with their parliamentary majority. The pretext of austerity has been used to remove representatives of organisations like the unions from the board, allowing the government to appoint the majority.
This threatens to return us to the Aznar era, when RTVE news delivery was kept under tight political control. Although it's unlikely that news bulletins will begin, as they invariably seemed to do in Aznar's time, with the words "el presidente del gobierno ha dicho". Rajoy still seems to be averse to any kind of communication at all, although a more government friendly broadcaster will no doubt show the great leader delivering declarations without of course experiencing anything so uncomfortable as a journalist asking him a question he hasn't been prepared for. This is a move towards the Telemadrid model of television as a political tool, and those RTVE journalists who have demonstrated worrying signs of independence will now be wondering what future they have.
Despite the moves to control RTVE, it's still unlikely that Spanish television will be the chosen platform for breaking the really bad news. For that sort of thing you really need to be a reader of the Frankfurter Allgemeine, or perhaps occasionally the Wall Street Journal. Economy minister Luis de Guindos announces the government's measures first to overseas media, and then eventually the government gets around to telling the Spanish people what is about to happen to them. The latest example was with the additional health and education cuts which were announced first in the German paper. At least the sick can be reassured that when they have to pay more for their medicines it's really just a problem of communication.