Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Front Page

The front page of a newspaper is for attention-grabbiing news, major stories about disasters, triumphs, unexpected news. The story that political parties seldom put price tags on their promises is scarcely news. In fact, it's common knowledge in any bar classy enough to serve its beer in glasses. So why was it front page in the September 11, 2010 Times&Transcript - with a further half-page on A12? That's a lot of expensive space for a story announcing the equivalent of "rain is wet".

The answer is in the sub-heading of the story. "And when they they do, costs are often underestimated, SAYS THINK-TANK".  (capital letters are mine.)

That point ot the story is to advertise the wisdom and insight of the Atlantic Institute of Marketing Studies. Most if consists of quotations from Charles Cirtwill, President and CEO of AIMS, whose bio on the AIMS website would place him well ahead oftAristotle, Socrates and Platoeven if the brains of the latter trio were all combined and they had a good tailwind.

The only important mesage in the whole story is in those three words, "says think-tank". The purpose of the story and the reason it's on front page  is to get us used to thinking of AIMS as a fount of wisdom and insights.

That's not news. That's propaganda. And it's propaganda for a propaganda agency.

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