New Beginnings: Agency Invovement In Social Issues

Driving the Dialogue: Part 2

Does propaganda eliminate truth from the intersection of ideas, opinions and facts in public discourse? Merriam-Webster defines propaganda as:”…(2)the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person. (3) ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect.

Without getting into nuanced differences, propaganda seems to have similarities to public relations, advertising and yellow journalism.

In the classic sense, issues and causes are driven by propaganda. With the advent of marijuana becoming decriminalized, if not legalized in states like Colorado, Oregon and California, none of this happened without discussion in public discourse or propaganda. This is also true of the gay rights movement. Personally, whatever I believe will not change because of shifting of moral climate — I will not harass people, either.

However, here is where the public relations come in. Straight people have been made to feel shame for being straight. There is a propaganda avalanche of gay-themed television programs, entire networks, and airhead celebrities taking a stance. Of course, it got rather funny when that reasonably good-looking straight actress made a defiant tearful public declarations of: “I will not marry the father of my child until this state legalizes gay marriage…” only to dump the guy cold once DOMA was struck down. Or, what about the fading dishrag celebrity that freaked out when her daughter told her: “Mom. I’m growing a beard and a dick for Christmas.) Neither really seemed committed did they? The point is that the propaganda agencies got paid millions to give face to the cause. Money can make you shoot your mouth off.

Still, in its most basic form the gay rights people were only using a platform. Using a voice is neither malevolent nor benign. It’s a communicative tool.

In relation to how black people are perceived, it is very negative. Some of it stems from the baseness that we have allowed to represent who we are. For example, the incessant use of the N-word, misogynist diatribes in Hip-Hop has given white people like Quentin Tarantino empowerment to bare their hearts and throw the N’word onto the screen, and naivete fools to voice the words. (Say what you want about O.J Simpson, but he beat the crap out of Richard Burton for calling him the N’word on set. To me, that was an appropriate response.)

No one has taken a national voice, except Black Enterprise Magazine, Essence and less fervently, Ebony, speaking to the wrongness of this ‘word.’ Instead, what you have is worship and obsession with countless people who only claim to fame seems to be the ability to excel in sports, cuss, bare their asses in sagging pants, wear skimpy clothes, and act whorish. It is wrong on so many levels. This is not who we are as a people.

My friend pointed out that since I owned an advertising agency, I am a propagandist but in a unique position to help establish and sustain positive perspectives. I pointed out that I am in business to make money. What if a account executive brings in clients that sell E cigarettes, manufacture spirits, or even run marijuana associations — do I say no? Where does my social responsibility lie?

I can safely say, we still will not advertise pornography.

From the standpoint of being who I am, I will remain true to my upbringing and set of mores. Social responsibility cannot be weighed on a scale of relativism.

Check you later,

Bernard A. McNealy, CEO
Carson Dunn Media Advertising, Inc.

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