Sometimes the members of the media get stung by advertising claims that are less than honest and forthright. Unscrupulous ads mislead consumers into purchasing goods and services that are overpriced, dangerous or deadly to humanity. Time and money is wasted. Emotions are malformed. The voice of reason cries in the wilderness.
Sometimes ads are not bogus, just simply one-sided and biased without a fair balanced opposing view. The litigation of tobacco and microsoft have have prompted each to fund self-serving, imbalanced advertisements. These ads are reminiscent of the neighborhood drug dealer who extracts thousands of dollars while buying a few pairs of highly visible Nike sneakers for the children of the addicted parents.
Phillip Morris has stopped donating to United Way for community services. It now puts the same money into Nuremberg productions of how much Phillip Morris employees help their communities. Balanced public announcements are needed on the tobacco company's ads as on their tobacco products, to wit,
The advertising general has determined that Phillip Morris employees have indirectly cost families hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours for each dollar and hour donated to the community. While Nazi Germany had politically sanctioned gassing of citizens for several years, America has had tobacco subsidies for several centuries to gas and kill more than six million humans.
Money that was being micro-invested into community problems by United Way is now going into the pockets of Madison Avenue advertising Goebels. Instead of the democracy of local allocation of funding to meet locally defined needs, Phillip Morris now has central planning to dictate corporate benefits. It is not alone.
As the chemical industry contributes to a toxic waste cleanup fund and as tobacco companies contribute to health care cleanup, so should all advertisers underwrite the cost of democratized feedback to provide an opposing opinion on biased advertising. (And so should microsoft contribute to the data cleanup caused by hard selling software that doesn't work as advertised.)
Unfortunately, the media does not have the combined knowledge of the general public to recognize bogus advertising. Unfortunately, there has not been a good, effective way to tap the intelligence of the general public to reveal "bogus" advertising so as to protect the common weal and the media integrity. Fortunately, the media can use on-line forums to allow audiences to provide instructive feedback on bad advertising--see your state and national demes of global democracy.
In addition to the "advertising general's warnings" forums provided to magazines, newspapers, radio and television, a general nationwide "bogus advertising" forum is provided in Personal Democracy. When you experience an insulting or misleading ad, submit your clarifying refutation via on-line democracy. You will be rewarded with lifehour tax credits at the national level .(Temporarily, credits will be given for the initial private media forums that help prove out on-line democracy.)
Ideally, the media will grant air or ink for forum winners to share. If people don't waste money on bad products, they will have more money for good products. The media (besides receiving some very interesting democratized issues to air from the people) will end up having more advertising revenues. Compare the circulation of an advertising medium that only accepts bogus ads. How long will it remain commercially viable? The degree to which an advertising medium has bad ads will be reflected in its profits and longevity. Like people, societies and humanity, democracy will bring out the best in the media and advertising ... if the media embraces the means to better democracy.
On the plus side, imagine all the adspace the criticized advertisers will buy to clarify the complaint. Of course, they will want to buy next to the "Bogus Ads" column. Of course, both the complainers and the paper will be exempt from litigation and libel in the same way that a long-winded politician is exempt from his exaggggggerated campaign promises. This public service can come from and through the local municipality so as to provide further insulation from litigation and libel.
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