Brand Bush: Shoving Horse Meat Into a Box of Wheaties
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
In a BuzzFlash Editorial during the Alito hearings, we noted:
The Democrats are looking to appeal to the brain; the Republicans to the manipulation of emotions that race through the heart -- and are subject to the strategic use of television 'stories' and photo ops.
The parties are targeting two different body organs.
And in a world dominated by trivial news that appeals to the emotions -- and sensational celebrity gaffes, romantic entanglements and crimes -- the appeal to the brain has but the shortest of shelf lives.
It's barely but a blip on the radar screen of the evening news.
The editorial was entitled, "Governing by 'Soap Opera': The GOP Fine Art of Demagoguery vs. the Dazed and Confused Democratic Leadership Appeal to Reason."
We promised a second part, which we are posting today, because for the Republicans the medium is the message.
We live in a culture of brands. We buy products that are supposed to make us feel better, brighter, sexier, happier, not because they do; but because advertising tells us they will.
Coca-Cola was, perhaps, the most well known harbinger of the "brand" culture that has become America. It was a carbonated beverage that was supposed to refresh us, make us more popular, make us more hip.
Now, television news has merged with advertising and entertainment to become one big grinder for selling "brands" and the fantasy associations attributed to them.
Bush, given this context, has been a "brand" created by Karl Rove and sold by big media to the American public. No matter what Bush does, how he fails, the media picks him up in the morning and re-bestows his "brand" virtues of alleged honesty, compassion and leadership.
It's like squeezing dog food into a box of Wheaties every morning, but the media does it. Because the news media is now just part of one big branding machine.
The Republicans get this. The Democrats don't.
What Rove and FOX GOP News did was create the characteristics of the "Bush Brand" and write the mythology of the brand background. The rest of the media and the GOP echo chamber then became billboards and television and radio advertisements for "Brand Bush." Their job wasn't to report the news; their job was to sell the brand.
That explains why the Washington "correspondents" yucked it up when Bush did a sophomoric skit, but gave Stephen Colbert's lacerating lesson in truth the cold shoulder.
Correspondents, as we have noted, were there with their producers and editors, who were there with the big media owners.
The big media owners don't want to upset Bush. The producers and editors don't want to upset the owners. And the so-called "correspondents" don't want to upset their editors and producers.
And what the big media owners want from "Brand Bush" is regulations and legislation that increase their corporate profits. News is now about keeping the owners of news companies highly profitable, not about the truth.
In the 2004 election, the head of Viacom (owner of CBS) said that he personally might be for Kerry but he would vote for Bush because Bush was good for Viacom's bottom line. News divisions on television now are just part of larger entertainment and business conglomerates that are dependent on Republican administrations to do them big corporate favors, in a variety of ways.
This is just a fact. It's not speculation.
And so it is the easiest thing in the world for an ABC news program to move from plugging a Disney movie to promoting "Brand Bush." It's all sales, including not reporting news that might tarnish the "brand" of advertisers or the "brand" of the corporate parent.
Yes, the Democrats keeping plugging away trying to peddle public policy.
The Republicans are out selling "Brand Bush" through every television set in the nation -- and an army of radio stations -- along with most of the print media.
The Republicans have made most elections a referendum on character or "brands," even if it's horse meat you get when you open the box.
And the mainstream news media knows how to peddle horse meat.
They just call it "Brand Bush."
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL