And Now a Word from our Sponsor …

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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One Response

  1. If it took a ‘Truth Test’ for all of you sage wise Channel Ten Types to learn that people are ‘frustrated and insulted,’ perhaps the lot of you haven’t been listening to your own nitely newscasts. The masses have had it and been fed up long before this most recent round of politcal slogans, spots and negative slammings. All of this negative puffing, sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors and senseless verbiage somehow fits so well into today’s national landscape where the same negativity runs so rampant in the halls of justice, halls of Congress, and on national, state and local levels. It fits bc the masses buy into it; they do not have the time or effort to look below the surface message and examine what it is that’s being fed them, so, we buy into it, we smoke it, we drink it, we bathe in it or iron our shirts with it. We have ourselves to blame for all that’s gone wrong in government, Wall Street, Washington, Congress and every city, town and village along the way. John Q. Publick just does not have ample time in his/her day to delve and search for the truth, be it political type slogans and campaigns or the everyday selling of America to the Americans. If you are focussing on the ’30 second lasso,’ it’s time you broadened your own view of what’s happening around you and your colleagues who feel they’ve told us the ‘rest of the story,’ in a mere one or two minute 6 or 11PM news blurb. Sadly, tho the effort is well-intentioned, that just ain’t gonna cut it in these horrific and troubled times we Americans find ourselves in, today.

    How’s that for a ‘Truth Test.’

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