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A Cautionary Event for Corporate Bloggers July 2, 2007

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Business & Society, Health Care.
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Google has had one of its employees create a (so far) relatively minor brouhaha over comments she made concerning Michael Moore’s Sicko, criticizing it heavily and pointing out that the ads that Google can sell health care companies can help them “…better manage their reputations through “Get the Facts” or issue management campaigns.”. When her post started getting noticed she “clarified” things.

In my opinion her clarification contains one of the greatest fallacies I’ve heard in recent history. She claims

Whether the healthcare industry wants to rebut charges in Mr. Moore’s movie, or whether Mr. Moore wants to challenge the healthcare industry, advertising is a very democratic and effective way to participate in a public dialogue.

Whatever you might feel about the de facto situation in this country just when did it become so very acceptable to equate money with “democracy” or something being democratic? Admittedly the Supreme Court has told us that limiting money in political campaigns is the same thing as limiting speech. And then someone actually thinks that having the money, and we’re not talking small change here, is what makes for a democratic way to participate in public discourse. Is that really where we want to go? Where is the voice of those who don’t have money when any organization that tries to speak for them is dismissed as just another special interest group or denigrated by some other name?

Will being an individual who has that kind of money be the only “acceptable” way to have a discernible voice in public debates some day? I may write a blog but I am lost in a sea of similar voices. Won’t this be true of the overwhelming majority of the non-wealthy who try to find a voice? No, advertising is not a force for democracy or on behalf of the individual in any conflict between the wealthy and non-wealthy in our society.

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Comments»

1. Center of Attention » The Moderate Voice - July 3, 2007

[…] Jim Satterfield revisits the age-old question, “Does money equal speech?” […]

2. Gwen - July 8, 2007

Will being an individual who has that kind of money be the only “acceptable” way to have a discernible voice in public debates some day?

You ask an important question. Sadly, though, the answer is probably yes, unless we build some kind of structure – a bottom-up independent movement – – in this country that can transform how politics work. Check out http://www.independentvoting.org for one such attempt in this direction. The good news is that the numbers of indies are increasing daily – 40% in some polls – and a somewhat under-the-radar movement vs. partisanism is growing.

Gwen


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