I am Jack's Smirking Revenge

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Friday, January 12, 2007

PR Battles

As an adult, I've always had a strong distrust of the news media. The more you learn about it, the less worthy of your attention it is. No surprise there, really.

Public Relations Battles, the fight between two sides of an issue for a foothold and high standing in the minds of the public, have recently become a fascinating topic for me.

In most cases a real PR battle happens when one or both sides has either money or truth- the more interesting of which is typically when the side with the money is not the side with the truth.

Take, for example, the recent uprising of news stories in which well-funded organizations, such as the "[d is cover y] [in sti tu te]", come forth to battle with science in the long-standing 'battle' over evolution/intelligent design.

For the most part, scientists are like artists- some end up getting huge grants, or contracts, but most of them do it because they love what they do. So the science side of the argument, here, is not the big money side.

The aforementioned and purposely misspelled institute is our lacking-in-truth, but not so in money side of the battle.

Let's never mind for a moment that this particular subject is one of my favorites, and just look at the logistics of the situation.

Scientists, on one hand, have two major concerns- that hard science will be demoted in schools and that their already sparse funding will lessen even further because of this loss of focus.

Creationists, on the other hand, I'm not so sure what they stand to lose. That their belief system will suffer a loss of membership? That their heavenly leader will be angered if they don't ferverently defend their beliefs? Or is it just that deep down inside they are peeved that someone dares to publicly disagree with their beliefs in the good ol' U S and A, where we all have one god- theirs?

In any case, the creationists consistently bring absolutely nothing to the table which stands up to the logic and reason of science- however, time and time again they are granted audience with legitimate smart people of all sorts, and the ensuing joke of a discussion invariably ends up being an insult to the scientist.

Oh. I am venting.

That is, one side has a scientific theory (please go look up theory, maybe spend a few minutes studying the difference between common and scientific usages of the two) to back them up, and the other has- nothing more than a book anyone could have made up, and their passionate belief in that book.

Now, why this is important.

The media.

sets up 'forum for discussion'

grants access to someone who has painstakingly researched, catalogued, and diagramed their works,

grants access to someone else who has thought at great length about someone or something they have never seen, never heard, and only read about in a book of dubious origin.

The viewer, while possibly ignorant of either side, is presented with 'something', as if, somehow, putting the two together suggests an even match. As if something either of them could say in 5 minutes, or 10 minutes, or half an hour, could actually prove anything of consequence. If it were possible, this result would already exist- and I'm quite certain it does not.

The result? The viewer is pummeled with this side, that side, this side, that side- and somehow now there is some glint of credibility for the creationist.

For this particular subject ID/evolution, there are facts too complicated, esoteric, and deep for 90%+ of the viewership to comprehend or absorb in a 30-minute episode that block a proper appreciation of the consistency and validity of the theory of evolution. On the other side of the fence, many many years can be spent 'studying' and playing along with whatever belief system you prefer to choose- after which you may likely be considered an expert on it- whether you made up your belief system or not.

So, somehow, in the public eye, it now appears that there IS actually some sort of debate to be had- the side which has no leg to stand on, now, somehow, gets invited to discussion after discussion.

And that's my point. The interesting PR battles are between the monied and wrong, and the poor and right. I suspect, in this case, the powers that be know that science cannot be allowed to win big in the eyes of the public. Religion is too strong a factor in winning votes from the ignorant such that our public tax dollars can be diverted away from keeping us alive and towards sending us away to die- and towards nice cushy contracts. But that's a different rant.


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