Has the ink bled?

David Ethan Kennerly, December 16, 2003

90% of all magazine content is controlled by advertisers. It's rather simple logic. If the magazine fails to provide acceptable content, then the magazine yanks the ads and promises to boycott all advertising until the content aligns with their policy.

A friend at a party rumored that Nike will not share the pages with feminism that criticizes sports promotion to females. It's commonly understood practice among magazines.

Rob Bass suggested to me that Consumer Reports, in fact, does not accept advertising at all just to prevent this bias.

This forecasts a dismal outlook for honesty in consumer magazines that do accept advertising, such as PC Gamer.

Ah well, we Americans know better than to believe everything we read in the papers. (In the case of identifying terrorists connections between Iraq and Al Queda, we know so well that we even make up the facts.)

But no one ever expected an ad to be honest. No one ever expected a billboard to be unbiased. It's directly and solely paid for by one producer. It comes as more of a shock to learn that even the pages which were obstensibly unconnected to the page with the advertising on it. Has the ink bled? It seems so.

It also seems inevitable. Each producer controls funding and withholds it to get content that is at least not derogatory to itself. Any image-smart person understands why. Why pay for an ad in hopes of etch a good impression on the reader only to have it countermined by an article in the magazine that etches a bad impression.

But no one really falls for that. No one? Not one? Okay, apparently it makes a difference whether we recognize it or not, in fact the less we recognize it the more effective the advertisement seems to be. Why is subliminal so suggestive? Perhaps because it passes under the radar of criticism. Perhaps because it never catches the attention of higher intelligence. It is subconscious, after all.

Considering this, what can one make of goverment propaganda in public schools? The issuer of funds has an influence on the content and bias of the lesson.

A good friend, Danielle, said that the Bush administration will pull type-six funding, which applies to some university programs, if they teach particular biases of post-colonist conclusions, of which the details I am not aware.

In my current experience as a student, especially as a student of an anti-racist, anti-Western-centrist Humanities class and a US Mythology (er, History) class, I believe my attendance to lecture has had negative value on my education. Accepting the knowledge has, in effect, made me dumber. That is, more likely to subconsciously accept that federal government today is a caring cuddle-muffin compared to last century, and that socialism is the only alternative to fascism (or is it vice versa?). In either case, analysis was foregone for conclusion. And in either, the conclusion taught me worse than nothing. It conditioned compliant belief through a system of examination on the biased content.

So, is the only way out of this mess, like the method of Consumer Reports, to stop accepting biased funds in order to get an honest education?

Some have some opinions. What is yours?

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