Nov 23, 2009

Reason over Message

With the rise of the public relations industry American politics—from the municipal alderperson to the chief executive—has been reduced to the point where a vacuous Sarah Palin can be talked about as a contender for the president of the United States.

In politics as in marketing, the overriding concern is to deliver a message to create and manage a brand, be it a product like a snow-blower or a political candidate like George W. Bush.

Managing a brand is done through delivering through every utterance, every visual image, every fleeting impression: A message; like strength or family-friendly, some such positive attribute, or negative attribute if you're referring to an opponent.

We have come to adapt this message imperative so unthinkingly that in discussions of matters of public policy, facts, logic, rights and history are of no concern for many in our dying democracy. We live in a make-believe world of messages and visual impressions.

Think that possession of pot should be lowered to a $10 ticket or be completely legalized, and the response from those most vested in message-speak will be: We're sending the wrong message.

Withdraw from Afghanistan: Wrong message. And so on.

How about a trial for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM)? No, KSM will deliver the wrong message at trial. And the trial itself is delivering the wrong message to terrorists everywhere.

Leonard Pitts Jr eviscerates such nonsense in his column this morning.

Pitts quotes Robert H. Jackson's eloquent opening statement at the Nuremberg trials of NAZIs on November 21, 1945, in serving as Chief of Counsel for the United States.

That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason.
Today, it is thought by the Glenn Becks, the Rudys and Republican Parties of the world, that such phenomena as Reason and the Rule of Law apparently deliver the wrong message, which is what is really important.

Attorney General Eric Holder deserves respect for apparently not giving a damn about message, in favor of Reason and the Rule of Law.

- via mal contends

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