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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Let us not become the evil we deplore...

An AlterNet article on the Armstrong Williams scandal (the Bushies paid a black right-wing TV pundit $240,000 to promote No Child Left Behind during his "news" broadcasts) ends like this:
Armstrong Williams, Karen Ryan and Ketchum PR are all bit players in what is a big budget, major studio production. Even George W. Bush is just one of the actors in this production. The real story here is about the conservative movement and the ways that that movement primarily through the marketing of conservative ideas has molded and continues to mold public opinion in America. Conservatives are beating progressives with an effective marketing machine. However, no such infrastructure exists on the left.

While clearly conservatives' tactics (i.e., bribing pundit entrepreneurs and faking news spots) are deplorable, progressives can learn from their overarching marketing strategy. Progressives must frame their ideas in ways that resonate with the American public and disseminate those ideas through a variety of diverse channels in a coordinated effort.

The hopes of the Democratic Party in 2008 rest on one key question: will progressives spend the next four years viewing the world through the same narrow scope of the past, or will they embrace the big picture and see that in order to change the direction of the country, they must effectively counter the conservative movement?
To which Michelle responds perfectly:
For all the truth in this and other articles about "the left" needing to get good and slick in the advertising department in order to reach the other half of America, I don't think I'd like living in that version, either. A country where people are willing to remain ignorant and be manipulated by slick promos and feel-good slogans? Where the "ideas" don't count - just the packaging? No thanks. I'm looking for a place where people want to understand what's really happening to them and to the rest of the world in their name.