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The opening crawl of ROS makes it clear a transmission has already been made.

The dead speak! The galaxy has heard a mysterious broadcast, a threat of revenge in the sinister voice of the late Emperor Palpatine.

Yet Poe Dameron and all the Rebellion leadership seems caught by surprise when the traitor's information tells them that. From the transcript

REY: What's the message?

POE: We’ve decoded the intel from the First Order spy.... and it confirms the worst. (sighs) Somehow, Palpatine returned.

[All gasp, murmuring]

ROSE: Wait. Do we believe this?

AFTAB: It cannot be. The Emperor's dead.

Why didn't anyone there seem to know about Palpatine's transmission?

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    Because they're too busy plotting against the Empire to be playing Fortnite
    – Valorum
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 19:51
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    The information from the spy confirms that Palpatine is really back and that the transmission wasn't faked by the First Order, is what I thought they were saying. I mean you can edit dialogue from dead actors into coherent sentences in real life, so faking a message from Palpatine wouldn't be impossible. Commented May 26, 2020 at 20:00
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    @SpaceWolf1701 Yeah but (ignoring the sloppy storywriting and moon-sized-battlestation plot holes) I would have expected someone to mention that either way, which nobody does. The entire scene implies they're just now finding this out
    – Machavity
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 20:04
  • @Machavity Fair enough. Which is why I didn't give that as an actual answer. Commented May 26, 2020 at 20:05
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    I agree with SpaceWolf... the new intel is confirming the transmission is real. If they didn't know about the transmission at all there would be nothing to confirm.
    – Skooba
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 20:46

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The official novelisation confirms that they absolutely did know about the transmission. The confirmation they were getting (via their spy) was that the message wasn't faked.

Poe addressed the group. “Thanks to See-Threepio and Beaumont, we’ve decoded the intel from the First Order spy, and it confirms the worst.” He waited a moment, as though reluctant to continue. After a deep breath, he added, “Somehow, Palpatine has returned.”

Rey gasped along with everyone else.

Rose frowned. “Wait…do we believe this?”

Rey thought of the transmission that had flooded the galaxy, remembered her own dark visions. “We believe it,” she said.

Aftab Ackbar was shaking his head. “It cannot be. The Emperor is dead,” he insisted. “Killed aboard the second Death Star.”

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