When I was interviewed last week on the radio by my friends John and Doug I was asked a question that I cannot say that I enjoyed answering, but was a very important question (and answer) that I wish more Americans had a chance to hear.
I am not the first person to be asked that question, and I’m not the first to give the answer that I did, but judging by social media and the news today it seems as if not too many people are paying attention, or they just can’t seem to see the big picture.
The simple question that Doug asked me was “what do you think will happen next?” He was asking in reference to the executive action President Obama enacted to grant amnesty to illegal aliens, and he was asking if the Republicans in office would take any of the actions their harsh words were alluding to.
As someone who not only has an undergraduate degree and MBA emphasis on marketing but who also pays attention to local, national and global politics on a daily basis with an extremely cynical eye, I knew that one of the oldest PR moves in the playbook would be the response when I answered along the lines of “something else will come up, either a scandal or new media blurb that will re-direct the attention of Americans.”
Sure enough, while our interview was live on Friday, today is Tuesday and already every media outlet, social media contributor and PR office have spent the day blanketing every single outlet with the Ferguson riots, whether it be phony outrage and buzz words from celebrities (well, their PR representatives) or media using classic advertising words to catch your attention and ensure that you either click the link to their story online or stay glued to their station (and, of course, advertising partners).
I’m not writing this as a conspiracy theorist and asking you to don tinfoil hats and barricade yourselves in the basement, but I am hoping that maybe you’ll take a moment to reflect on the sheer number of scandals and media events in this administration that have had the uncanny timing of always taking your mind away from pondering anything that would make you question it.
Anyone remember Fast and Furious? Benghazi? The IRS and Lois Lerner scandal? Executive Action on Amnesty? Net neutrality? China and Russia going away from the dollar as reserve currency?
Of course not, who could be bothered to think about those things when we have images of stores burning, rioting and looting in a town most of us had never heard of a year ago.
I’m not saying that any of this is staged, but I am saying that other people with marketing, advertising and political backgrounds understand very well just how fickle the American people have become with their attention spans, and that all it takes is an ability to see a chain of events unfolding and having a camera in the right place at the right time.
Pay attention, America. Important things are happening to change your country while you fall victim to the classic magician trick of misdirection.