Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Advertising, Government, Propaganda

You tried to speak between lines of oration
You could only repeat what we told you
Your axe belongs to a dying nation
They don't know that we own you
--The Who

Statists often point to advertising as a prime reason why government intervention is necessary in markets. Advertising can be biased and can cause people to get confused and make wrong choices, statists claim. Better to have government oversee advertising process and content to ensure that it is clear and accurate and that people do not get manipulated. Perhaps government should just decide for the consumer, rather than having individuals collect information on their own and then make potentially erroneous choices.

The irony, of course, is that politicians spend $billions each election season to spew their own brand of biased advertising. What supposedly is bad for consumers when choosing among goods and services is good for voters when choosing among political candidates.

State involvement in media extends beyond the campaign trail. Governments have vertically integrated into advertising. The advertising apparatus is extensive. Information collection and reporting bureaus, press conferences, and other channels are managed directly. Political action groups and partisan media outlets are managed indirectly.

Advertising and media in the political sphere go by another name: propaganda. 

1 comment:

dgeorge12358 said...

If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly.
~Thomas Sowell