Sign on front yard saying Vote 2012

Misinformation Age: Marketing’s Great…Just Not in Our Elections

Sign on front yard saying Vote 2012

We’re doing it all wrong. Getting elected has become all about marketing. And each season, there is less and less truth in this sort of advertising. It’s time to take the “campaign” out of politics.

Being President—being any elected official in government—is serious business. In this Internet age, there’s no excuse for why we continue to dump billions of dollars into the election campaign waste can.

To decide who should hold the most important office in our nation, we need substantive information, not marketing slogans, pretty posters and propaganda. We could absolutely get rid of money in politics and draw more genuine public servants to offices of all sorts—national, state and local.

Marketing has its place in business, where companies of all sizes want to sell us something. But I don’t want someone to “sell” me on who should be president. Do you?

I want substance. I want facts. I want an easy way to find the truth about whom I’m voting for, and political advertising surely won’t give me that.

An Online Solution

Imagine instead that we have a website for presidential candidates that’s filled with bios, voting records, tax records, issue statements and, heck, even birth certificates, if you insist.

We could have debates, town halls and Q&As, on TV, online and in person—with smart moderators who ask important and relevant questions to both candidates, not always in debate format, with no questions reviewed beforehand. Heck, let’s give them pop quizzes and put them on Quora.

Think of the substance and wealth of useful information and insights we’d have to make our decisions.

The amount of BS we’d have to wade through would require mere tiptoes instead of full-fledged wading boots, because we’d eliminate the propaganda and the pundits and the propagandizing pundits!

Not So Friendly Skies

A coworker of mine recently likened being president to being a pilot—the person we elect should see the office as a responsibility to deliver us all safely to where we want to go.

We, the voting public, have a responsibility in return—to push aside the marketing BS and seek out untainted information that tells the truth on each candidate’s character, views and intended policies. But with all the marketing crap out there, it can be hard to discern what’s really true.

Too often, in our current system, we jump on a plane just because it’s red or blue and the pretty pamphlets told us exactly what we wanted to hear. Then we find out the pilot we’ve chosen doesn’t really care that our lives are in their hands, and he’s going where he wants to go whether we like it or not. And if the plane encounters turbulence and goes down, he and his copilot are the only ones with parachutes.

Aren’t you sick of this?

The Solution Is Staring Us in the Face

National, state and local websites can house the facts we need each election season—for all candidates. We can make voting easier for everyone—even those who are not online. It’s time. It’s past time.

With technology where it is today, we can bring elections into this so-called Information Age and say good riddance to the political misinformation age.

Marketing’s great—it can be creative, inspiring, and fun. And some political ads are very well done…but that’s how they get you. Because once you buy the marketing, you don’t even realize you don’t have the truth.

Many people suffered and died to give us all the right to vote. We owe them a system based on truth.

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This year, you can go to FactCheck.org to find out what messages are true and which are not.

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2 comments

  1. Ryan Gerardi · October 17, 2012

    Did you write about this last year? Sounds like a familiar tune. You make a good point, getting elected has become a marketing job. But isn’t it self-perpetuating? As a candidate you have to get your message out there. You have to break it down to be simple and what you propose does not make it simple. Despite the lies and rhetoric and the spin, there is no question where each candidate stands philosophically and people are going to vote for the candidate that relates with them most. The details of each individual issue almost don’t matter b\c policy still has to be pushed through the other branches of government and seldom if ever result in matching the President’s position 100%. I do think we need the hard cold facts, and they are out there if you seek them out and filter out analytical bias. But I think the marketing aspect is useful too, and inevitable.

    • ctmarcom · October 17, 2012

      Hi Ryan, I don’t think I did write about this last year. You make some good points here, quite a few I agree with. But the one point that’s missing is how our current state of money & marketing drives a pool of candidates who aren’t always idea. If we got rid of that aspect, we might draw candidates who are less prone to lies and slick marketing campaigns. While I agree that despite the lies you and I know clearly where the candidates stand, not everyone is able to be objective enough to look through that and see the truth of character and ideology. It also doesn’t help us that we have propaganda machines disguised as news channels that further push us away from the truth. Right now, you’re right, the details don’t matter, but maybe if we were able to un-game the system, we’d have a better system where those details do matter. Thanks, Ryan. Great comment!

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