Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Approved This Message

Suppose someone told you that a certain product was the best there was?  That person then went on to say that to buy a different product would be a waste of money since it was completely inferior to his.  And he further said the manufacturer of that other brand was actually funding terrorist activities.
Basically you would be quite foolish to buy anything else, right?
Now suppose the man touting the original brand was the owner of the company.  Wouldn't that taint his argument just a bit and make you seek out better info?
While it is important to know everything about a product before your purchase it is equally as important to know from what source the analysis on that product came.
The same is true about politics, pending policies, and candidates running for office.
Political ads are naturally biased and in favor of the person who commissioned them.  Their loyalty is easy to figure out even without that annoying disclaimer about who approved the ad.  But equally as important is who funded the ad!
You'll  no doubt have a warm and fuzzy feeling about a candidate after viewing a television ad showing the guy with his loving wife and two small children.  Especially after the voice over tells you the guy wants to help your family find the same peace and contentment, right?
But would your warm glow change if you found out that the man’s first and second wives died during hunting trips and the ad was totally paid for by the National Rifle Association?
Okay that was a little over the top but...
Welcome to the real world.  The Republican Party just blocked a bill (where have I heard that one before?) that would have made it mandatory to disclose the monetary backers of just such an advertisement.
The list of exclusions demanded by the GOBP, sorry, I mean GOP included many large corporations and special interest groups such as the NRA effectively neutering a well intentioned bill.
One wonders what these groups have to hide.  If the product they are backing, after all isn't every politician merely a product these days, is such a good thing for us then why are they hiding in the shadows when they say so?  Why not come out and stand tall behind their convictions.  Proudly pronounce their support.  Perhaps the word ‘convictions’ frightens them?
First the incredibly conservative John Roberts led Supreme Court allowed for the funding of political ads by corporations which could possibly be multi-national in origin and un-American in political leanings.  Now this blockage of transparency by the Party of 'No Freaking Way' could be seen as the final blow to fair elections in the country.
Never have we had a better opportunity to see first hand and within a few short years the power of closed door meetings between high ranking government officials and the special interest groups who pay dearly for their access.  All we must do is think back to the secret energy meetings at the White House between Dick Cheney and the heads of the five oil families and then fast forward to the Gulf of Mexico today!
Like it or not advertising works.  Don’t think so?  Then you are among the best candidates to fall for the spin!  Just ask Jerry Della Famina who some feel is the inspiration behind the Donald Draper character of AMC’s "Mad Men."  He wrote the definitive book on advertising and about how they can sell you anything entitled, “From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor.”
Unfortunately the way it stands now whenever a politician speaks it is a commercial for his sponsor much like the old TV show “Mutual of Omaha’s Natural Kingdom.”  Remember such fun as host Marlin Perkins holding a baby bear cub? “This baby cub is cute and cuddly but still needs momma bear to keep it safe.  You can keep your baby cubs safe with a Mutual of Omaha…”
If we continue moving in this direction it will not be long before congressional speeches will be interrupted by breaks during which we will hear the actual news and weather for a minute before returning to the spin.
At this point the only way to tell one candidate from another would be to force them to wear the uniforms of their owners much like in baseball or NASCAR.  "Now speaking for the current bill, the Senator from Exxon..."
So where do we go from here?
How can we get out from under the control of the corporate thumb?
I would love to travel around the country telling everyone my solution but unfortunately I cannot find a sponsor.

No comments: