Back in the mid-1970s, the Reno Advertising Club brought two heavyweights to a dinner at John Ascuaga’s Nugget.
Financial guru Armstrong Elliott was busy at the time trying to save New York City from bankruptcy. His brother, Jock, former editor of Reader’s Digest, headed Ogilvy & Mather, one of the world’s largest ad agencies.
Jock Elliott was asked if advertising messages had to be tailored differently to various cultures and locales. Surprisingly, his answer was no.
“People are people everywhere you go,” he stated, “and the one thing they are most interested in is themselves.”
Elliott noted that each month, Reader’s Digest mailed three communities in various parts of the country an offer of free advance copies of articles from an upcoming edition. All people had to do was check off the three most-attractive titles. Grocery store copies of the magazine would then carry an outside sticker promoting the three top stories.
“One month, an article on how to lose weight was far and away number one. How to cut the fat out of the federal budget was number 50 out of 50,” Elliott said.
Media-saturated America has devolved to a point that a dangerously high percentage of the citizenry is susceptible to a well-marketed, self-centered lie.
On Jan. 26, the Reno Gazette-Journal devoted two full pages to Nevada’s shortage of doctors.
But didn’t the Nevada State Medical Association’s 2004 ballot question solve that problem? Remember the TV commercials showing long lines of whitecoats walking down a lonely desert highway, supposedly leaving Nevada because of the depredations of trial lawyers?
Former Tribune reporter Dennis Myers wrote a very detailed Reno News & Review article demonstrating how the supposed medical malpractice insurance crisis was manufactured by the medical lobby and propagated by lazy media.
Voters bought the doctors’ PR and imposed a stingy cap on pain and suffering damages. Thanks to that creative lie, Nevada lawyers are loathe to pursue money-losing malpractice litigation. The butchered are oft-abandoned while law firms now subject us to all those pesky TV spots hustling car accident cases.
Woebetide thee once the legit media buy into a lie. Just ask Lani Guinier, who speaks at 7 p.m. Wednesday at UNR. (Admission free.)
In 1993, President Clinton nominated her as assistant attorney general for civil rights but threw her under the bus after the Wall Street Journal labeled her a “quota queen.” It was an absolute falsehood but the label stuck and Clinton bailed on Harvard’s first tenured African-American female law professor.
So before you believe today’s spin that Obamacare will cost two million jobs, read more than headlines.
The health of the truth is always endangered. Get selfish.
Esté bien. Haga infierno. Be well. Raise hell.