Wal-Mart is hiring top political consultants with track records from the Reagan and Clinton campaigns to coordinate a multimillion effort to discredit a new film about the company. Wal-Mart is entitled to be as anti-union as they like, of course, and entitled to work hard to get the word out about their point of view, but it’s surprising (at least to me) to see who is willing to help them combat those that would critize them.
Strange bedfellows, it seems.
Politicians (and especially political consultants) are a special breed. One day they crow about how something is essential ("give em an up or down vote!") and the very next day they take the other side.
But are they really a special breed?
Have you ever worked on a product or service you didn’t believe in? Marketed something with side effects (okay, there are no side effects, just effects) that you weren’t proud of? (To be fair, there are Kerry and Dean alum working just as hard on the other side…)
For a really long time, the discourse in the public space was assumed to be genuine. We assumed that if someone took a position, they actually believed it. (Of course, that was never true, but we liked to believe that it was). Today, as money further corrupts just about all of the systems we used to assume were pristine, it’s getting harder to make that assumption with any validity.
Where do you draw the line? How much money does it take to change your mind? What happens when we expose the data and label opinions or efforts as purchased?
The ideas that are being spread most often today aren’t ideas at all. They’re opinions. And we learned a long time ago that everyone is entitled to his opinion. But what if it’s not his opinion? What if the opinion belongs to someone else?
Welcome to the age of appropriate cynicism.
"I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV".