Thursday, August 30

Playing Politics: Everyone Under The Sun

While most political coverage has shifted to the bathroom habits and hypocrisy of Sen. Larry Craig (reality check: no amount of spin can save this), there is a largely unreported political story taking place that may be more concerning to some and much more far reaching in considering topics such as transparency.

In May, director Oliver Stone, filmmaker behind “JFK” and “Born on the Fourth of July” has produced a television spot ad for MoveOn.org, which featured Iraq war veteran John Bruhns calling on the government to bring U.S. troops home. You can see the spot, along with how the Democrats, Republicans, and Independents responded to the ad in real time at Slate.

ABC News reported on the advertisement throughout the production. It also covered a rebuttal advertisement produced by Freedom Watch. When you compare the two stories, the coverage seems as polar opposite as the advertisements.

Similar to the Stone-produced ads, Freedom Watch produced testimonials of Iraq war veteran John Kriesel, who lost both of his legs but still supports the actions abroad. You can view this advertisement here. CNBC and MSNBC have refused to air the ads outright, which seems contrary to their decision to run a poignant Associated Press story on the indifference to the First Amendment.

You know, there always seems to be ample pressure placed on social media and bloggers to practice full disclosure, but the reality is full disclosure is not a prerequisite to objectivity in the world in which we live. Perhaps Copyblogger is right (which is good, because I've said the same before). We don’t really want it and even if we had it, we most certainly wouldn’t like it. The best we can do is attempt to guide it from time to time.

So, when you look at advertisements like those produced by MoveOn and FreedomWatch, there are a few truths to be found: military personnel are as conflicted about Iraq as the country; the media is only obligated to run and protect the stories it wants to protect and run; tragedy and conflict sell better in the news than charity and camaraderie; and regardless of how we feel about Iraq, our troops deserve better than being paraded around for the purposes of political gain.

Every year, I tell public relations students the same thing: when it comes to existing in the public eye as an individual, as a company, or as a community, perception is reality. And while that might be, please try to remember that it isn’t.

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1 comments:

Rich on 8/30/07, 11:20 AM said...

Famous Sidebars:

"Dow Jones & Co. and News Corp. said that the Federal Trade Commission has given antitrust clearance for News Corp.'s $5 billion (€3.66 billion) acquisition of The Wall Street Journal's publisher." — The Associated Press

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