Sunday, March 25, 2007

Obama's Big YouTube Deception

The media trajectory of computer technology has gone something like this. One brand name is embraced as a trend and all the media's collective hype machine focused on it. The internet has seen an acceleration of these brands and the media's lazy reporting gives us months of stories created entirely through the following formula.

Brand Name + Anything = News Story

There have been plenty of brands that have held this dubious honor. Microsoft. Apple. Yahoo. Google. The IPod. MySpace. And now the latest and nearly the most irritating of them all, YouTube.

And so we get an endless barrage of news story about Youtube, the way we did about Myspace not so long ago and the IPod before that. Reporters can now browse Youtube, dig up a video and treat it as news. Any story involving politics or business that has a video placed on Youtube about it, also whirlpools it in as news.

The latest and phoniest of the bunch is a campaign commercial produced by an employee for a company working for Obama's campaign that casts Hillary as Big Brother in a remix of the classic Apple 1984 commercial (complete with trendy IPod.)

The news media promptly went nuts going on about the brilliance of the anonymous creator of the commercial, arguing that it was going to change politics forever. Now the Obama Hype Machine is already so extreme on the best of days that news stories about him read like puff pieces put out by hired flacks.

Consider the SF Gate which spewed forth the kind of over the top praise of Obama and the video, that not even the most deranged hack on the payroll of the Obama campaign should be capable of producing.

"It may be the most stunning and creative attack ad yet for a 2008 presidential candidate -- one experts say could represent a watershed moment in 21st century media and political advertising."

Let's consider this for a moment. The 2008 race has barely begun. We're just into 2007. Describing it as the most stunning and creative attack ad of a race 2 YEARS AWAY makes as much sense as those critics who describe a movie released at the beginning of the year as THE GREATEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR.

Not to mention that reworking an existing attack ad is hardly "stunning" or "creative." It's actually mediocre. Stunning and creative would require coming up with your own original material.

Not satisfied with this though, in the very first paragraph the story insists that the ad is a "watershed moment for 21st century media. Why is it a watershed moment?

Because Obama's campaign produced a viral video based on a remix of a famous commercial from two decades ago that's been parodied endlessly since then. Plenty of companies have "dropped" viral videos anonymously on Youtube to build buzz. The entire LonelyGirl15 debacle stemmed from just such a venture. In fact Gore had already been hit with an anonymous attack ad via Youtube last year, that turned out to have originated from an organization.

In other words Obama's brilliant and creatively stunning ad is actually following in the footsteps of something a conservative think tank did last year.

"The compelling "Hillary 1984" video recently introduced on YouTube represents "a new era, a new wave of politics ... because it's not about Obama," said Peter Leyden, director of the New Politics Institute, a San Francisco-based think tank on politics and new media. "It's about the end of the broadcast era."

Get real. The end of the broadcast era doesn't come with a commercial that the Obama campaign was too cowardly to take credit for. Not one based on stolen footage that it's safe to say it didn't pay for. Nor one that required old line media hype to popularize.

"It puts Hillary spouting cliche nonsense to the drones -- while a fresh face breaks through," he says. "It's old versus new."

And nothing says new like ripping off a commercial from the era of the Reagan administration, that's become iconic and been parodied more times than Jimmy Carter. After all you've got to appeal to the kids with a commercial that aired when they were 7.

But watch the media pile on the hype. "Yet the groundbreaking 74-second pitch..." "The video is a sophisticated new take..." "is followed by the dramatically emerging logo" "the video is "very powerful" in its efforts" "Hillary 1984" could have the iconic power with the 21st century political generation that another classic political ad called "Daisy" represented to Baby Boomers" "the expertly created video remix."

Possibly at some point we also learn that the Hillary1984 ad can cure all known diseases, raise the dead and smells fragrant even after seven days. The avalanche of media hype, that was obviously orchestrated, is still continuing on ad nauseum, with the media giving the Obama campaign a pass, despite the self-evident fact that they produced the spot and that Barack Hussein Obama, a Presidential candidate, publically lied about it.

Scandals like that have brought down politicians before, but not the media's favorite , Obama. Had an employee of the Bush Campaign put out an ad like that, the media would have been all over it, instead of blowing air kisses as they've done here.


Lemon Lime Moon said...

Sad that this man gets away with it

Yobeeone said...

Well...what can we expect from the Michael Jackson of islam? :]

(PS: I'm guessing that later he claims he's really white and his skin is dark due to an allergic reaction to a tanning formula.)

Keli Ata said...

Politicians are no longer men and women seeking careers to serve the public. They're products. Little more than the personification of an idealogy. And boy are they sleezy, so it doesn't surprise me that they'd stoop to plagarizing anonymous material and editing it for just the right effect.

And the media feeds the beats by never questioning the origin of the material or why it is being posted anonymously in the first place.

Sigh. In my city a large daily has recently been quoting anonymous posts on a police blog and cited them as "sources in the police department." Of course everyone knows some sources wish to remain anonymous. Fine, but shouldn't the reporters know who they're quoting?

People who tar and fleathered former journalist Jayson Blair for fabricating stories are doing essentially the same thing. Dan Rather anyone? It's shamefull the way the media edits reports, campaigns stage fake news stories and the media never questions the authenticity of them.

Sultan Knish said...

jayson blair was just the sacrificial lamb

that kind of reporting is standard by now

there was stephen glass at The New Republic who made up stories of Young Republicans drinking, doing drugs and bringing in prostitutes

then there was Jack Kelley, a heavyweight from USA Today who made up stories about settlers ambushing palestinians

nobody listened though until he got nailed on a lot of other faked stories

Keli Ata said...

Ty for the fascinating link. There are probably a lot of dynamics going on. The most simple being sheer laziness, shoddy journalism and newsgathering practices.

It's good practice to keep notes and better still, audiotapes. Direct quotes are better than narratives and paraphrasing of course. Another problem is the bias of the reporters and editors. If something supports their bias, they let their guard down and run the article.

What's helpful to Israel in particular re media bias is that reports, photographs, and video are viewed internationally online where it's next to impossible to hide frauds.

Even so, as the saying goes, you can't un-ring a bell. People hear something and even if it turns out to be a lie doubts remain.

Sigh. George Orwell must be spinning in his grave over all these media lies, manipulations and newspeak.

Sultan Knish said...

well orwell had plenty of experience with media bias himself

his disillusionment with the left began when he went to fight in the spanish civil war and discovered the reality that the soviet union was using it to purge the socialists and revolutionaries fighting on the republican side... something the press did its best to cover up

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