Archive for September, 2008

And Now a Word from our Sponsor …
September 28, 2008

When I’m watchin’ my TV… And that man comes on to tell me how white my shirts can beBut he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me…”

 

The Rolling Stones are so ahead of their time. 

But laundry soap and cigarettes were so 60’s. 

 

In these last weeks before the 2008 history-making, economy-saving, security-ensuring elections, the basic market of information on which our democratic process depends has devolved into guerilla tactics. 

 

Sadly, campaign managers will tell you, it works.

 

Those 30-second attacks, accusations and smear spots might be valuable, if they were all true.  But in marketing, “true” is a relative term.

 

There is little doubt that every word and every claim in those negative political ads are technically factual (the makers know how to avoid lawsuits).  But campaign “handlers”, and maybe the candidates themselves, devise ways to twist those facts into a cleverly knotted 30-second lasso to rope you right in.

 

So much for freedom of information.

 

Negative campaigning is hardly a new concept.  Before the ’07 elections, I wrote about campaign literature that painted my choice of commission candidates as selfish, special-interest managed, inept, money-hungry, two-faced, ethically-challenged, drunk driving, pandering, philandering liars in bed with Fidel and in bed with the devil. 

 

A year now into the new administration, my zip code seems to be functioning fairly well.  Whew.

 

When are we, the voters, going to say “Stop the Madness”? 

 

What may be a justifiable method for selling soap just cannot be a justifiable method for molding an informed, well-equipped electorate to choose people to govern, craft law and spend money for public good.

This week, we at Local10 launched a project called the Truth Test, to challenge and clarify the claims of political attack ads.  Turns out, it has struck a chord with viewers.  Based on the email last week, people are frustrated and insulted when they learn about a shady sales job.  

 

The question is, did they first believe in it?

 

Which laundry soap cleans your shirts?

Which candidate gets your vote in November?

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