Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Truth Matters

“Your boy goofed,” son one e-mailed me last week while including the link to the Slate piece about a John Edwards DVD on health care that was sent to Iowa caucus voters. The marketers/editors had engaged in some fancy and deceptive editing which involved taking remarks John Edwards made about the war in Iraq and applying them to health care. Was it a benign error simply the result of good intentions gone astray?

I haven’t read much about this nor have I seen a response from John Edwards. I know zealous campaign workers sometimes get out of hand without their candidate’s direct knowledge. But don’t think I’m letting John Edwards off the hook. Someone in the campaign should have been aware of this bad edit. And I always say the buck stops at the top.

There will be other goofs on the part of other candidates, and it looks like for me, at least, who I support will come down to which candidate makes the fewest blunders. That is unless it is Hillary Clinton, and UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL I SUPPORT HILLARY CLINTON. The last time this Yellow Dog Democrat took that dramatic a stand was when Jimmy Carter ran for re-election and I sat that one out.

However the ‘bad edit’ concerns me on another level and that is on the subject of visual and auditory honesty in marketing and communications. Anyone who knows a little about Photoshop knows how easy it is to make the false appear real. There seems to be an attitude of if it looks or sounds good, it is. I still hope a third question is pondered: is it true and honest?

Oh sure, Playboy used to airbrush the imperfections out of photos for the oh-so-perfect Playmates long before Photoshop came along. College marketers will sometimes use stock photos of people who are not their students--not my husband of course, but he did tell me of a conversation with an outside advertising consultant who used the stock photos because she said, “the real students are too ugly.” I imagine advertisers are likewise guilty in their haste to make their products sell.

But what I am asking is, remember to question. Remember that angles matter. What is left out can be as important as what is left in. Take the time to question and think for yourself.


Marion said...

Very good point, Sheila. Amazing blunders abound here in Canada as well.

Sometimes I think using the word blunder is being kind...like you, I have to question whether or not there are ulterior motives.

"the real students are too ugly." Can you imagine?!??!!?

Sheila said...

We don't get much focus on Canadian news unfortunately. It's like we are Americans and the rest of the world doesn't matter. I sometimes turn to BBC or Reuters to see another view.