Thomas Sowell, Media, Politics and Idiocracy

Five cent tour in Bablion:

Things have changed; the Press has a new role in society- Media for advertising and marketing. As Thomas Sowell notes, The Press is not doing it’s duty. The good news is that New Media has replaced the advertising Media machine for unfiltered viewpoint and opinion.

The internet is a marketplace of opinion and views where people tell it like they see it and offer their personal opinion. Blogging and social networks are an example. And that thing that was The Press has become something else, an advertising Media machine. Soon enough, I regret that we all may be assimilated and retasked to the greatest unintended integrated marketing strategy ever. Unless we can keep the high ground of New Media.

Thomas Sowell on Media and Politics

Thomas Sowell writes this week about the Media and Politics. He makes an excellent example of Geoffrey Dawson at The Times of London in the 1930s. Dawson, Sowell explains, “filtered” the news in an effort to encourage peace after so much pain from the First World War, and thereby, unintentionally, downplayed the dangers of Hitler.

Sowell reminds us that journalists have a duty to tell the public “the truth as they see it and to offer their honest opinion as to what it means.”

“Journalists cannot serve two masters,” he writes. “To the extent that they take on the task of suppressing information or biting their tongue for the sake of some political agenda, they are betraying the trust of the public and corrupting their own profession.”

I cannot agree more ardently.

The Media and The Press

But things have changed- and the Press is no longer the Press. Or, perhaps, the Press is now truly in the hands of the People for a little longer. The internet is a marketplace of opinion and views where people tell it like they see it and offer their personal opinion. Blogging is one example. And that thing that was the Press has become something else, that’s the Media.

The Media resembles the Press; it looks like the Press; it sounds like the Press and it talks like the Press. But this is not a duck.

Nor is it the Press. Nor Pie.

The Media is an attention-capturing marketing channel that serves two masters, a corporate master and a public that needs to be fed with information so they can continue to go about their daily routine with a feeling that they know what is going on. More importantly, that corporate master often serves several masters: investors and advertisers among them.

Pie

The Media is not interested in Truth, Freedom and pie. It is interested in popularity, audience measurement, advertising revenue, profits and proliferating this business across more channels that intersect with the consciousness of the consumer. I am not saying that the Media “filters” everything, 24-7.

Sometimes, even the honest to goodness, unfiltered truth serves the Media’s purpose.

Perhaps, I wouldn’t be as convinced as I am if I, myself, had not seen the how thin is the Wizard’s curtain… in Romania. And if most Romanian journalists and Media publishers in Romania are complicit partners in this thing called Mafia, err… Media, they are not alone in the world. Only they lack the sophistication to create a more immersive and engaging delusion.

Media More Engaging (copyright by IAB)

The Media is offline and online. Collectively, it runs the best integrated marketing strategy ever. It even attempts to integrate The People into its fold; it recognizes that The People represent a prolific content-provider base; they are also the most prolific channel-creators. And it rewards individuals for lowering the quality of their opinion by encouraging them to substitute individual opinion with pre-filtered news content and strategically targeted marketing content.

Nowhere is this more evident than online- and especially the Media’s more engaging preoccupation with social search and social networking. Web 2.0 is the last great frontier where the dignity and intimacy of individual opinion, consciousness and filth must be infiltrated, assimilated and retasked for the greater good of the bigger marketing plan.

The unintended consequence is the reduction of humanity to impulse-driven idiot-consumers incapable of independent thought, conscientious objection, rational decision, and (dare I mention it) moral action. The movie, Idiocracy, provides an uncomfortable (however, campy) glimpse of such a future. If we were only so lucky, the good name of humanity will be preserved by Al Gore and his inconvenient ICE AGE. In other words, a quick extinction before we become idiot-consumers.

Idiocracy

As idiot-consumers increase, corporations can look forward to higher profits and lower costs. For example, they will be able to cut marketing costs by eliminating the expensive creative geniuses. I’m referring to the ones that come up with dynamic and immersive branding experiences that touch today’s “complexity” of sophisticated and intelligent consumers.

The irony is that corporations are wasting time and money on the complexity of the new integrated marketing game of prolific media. They need to stop producing products of quality and the ever-expanding offer of customer services. Instead, they should mass produce mass consumable trash at lower and lower costs with higher profits.

The big idea on brand (ala Ogilvy etc.) will never bring the same ROI than a persistent, irreverent and straightforward ridiculing of high culture, education, independent thought, and good taste. Just see how well MTV and VH1 are doing in the money and how profoundly they have changed culture. They do not lack for game. It’s a Groove armada.

Idiot Conversion Behavioral Marketing (ICBM)

Of course, there is no one better to lead this campy revolution with an ICBM than myself. Because, you have to have believe deeply in the things that you supposedly hate in order to succeed. At the same time, you have to be completely disappointed in humanity, the power of love (copyright Celine Dion) and your own incompetency (sic) to dumb down and enjoy the ride.

And I believe with all my heart…

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Stan Faryna
February 13, 2008
Bucharest, Romania

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About Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna &
Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna is editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2008 by Stan Faryna.

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