“Marketing” versus “Real Facts”

In a recent article on Politico (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20510.html) President Obama was quoted as saying the following (full block from Poilitico):

“One of the most important lessons to learn from this crisis is that our economy only works if we recognize that we’re all in this together — that we all have responsibilities to each other and to our country,” the president said at his White House press conference Tuesday. “Bankers and executives on Wall Street need to realize that enriching themselves on the taxpayers’ dime is inexcusable; that the days of outsized rewards and reckless speculation that puts us all at risk have to be over.”

The GOP then came forth with its own budget plan, releasing it to specific media outlets.  However, that plan did not include numbers and was subsequently described as a “marketing document”.  Throughout the development of the current budget, it would seem that neither party is successfully engaging the other.  In fact, it would appear that one party prefers to speak to the other through the media.  In such difficult economic times, it would seem that the two parties would be willing to sit down and work their issues out in order to move forward but this is certainly not what would appear to be happening.

How can we convince our officials that grandstanding and positional posturing will not help our nation?  What needs to happen in order for our nation’s leaders to enter into a productive dialogue with each other and end the constant bickering and positioning that goes on between parties?  What do we need to do to develop a system that encourages healthy dialogue informed by facts?

Here are two quotes to consider in reflection:

“We can have facts without thinking but we cannot have thinking without facts.” (John Dewey)

“I am a firm believer in people.  If given truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis.  The great point is to bring them the real facts.” (Abraham Lincoln)

One Response to ““Marketing” versus “Real Facts””

  1. lacquiparle Says:

    Lincoln also said (it is claimed) that “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”. Thinking of our history of the last 30 years, a cynic might say you can fool too many of the people too much of the time.

    It is not new for political figures to try to manipulate us. We can find plenty of precedents in Greek and Roman history, and we can admire Machiavelli for developing the theory of it. But today it seems worse. We are in a flood of misinformation, disinformation, spin, staged “spontaneous” events, and just plain nonsense. Techniques of achieving results by this have been fine tuned by the advertising agencies, and much has been learned from psychological research of how to condition us to be receptive to input.

    But we won’t be able to persuade politicians and spokespersons for pressure groups to give up these techniques. These techniques are used for a very simple reason. They sell. They will continue to be used as long as we keep buying. Is there some way that the public can be made more aware of the techniques by which we are being manipulated, so we will be able to resist them and thus increase the group that can’t be fooled all of the time? Apart from this, these techniques will have to be countered by steadily and rationally giving people the “real facts” as Lincoln suggests.

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