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Susan Saladoff, the director of the Hot Coffee, practiced medicalmalpractice attorney. She was a propagandist who exposed howcompanies splurge millions of dollars to obstruct the citizen’saccess to the court, influences judges as well as reduce sentences.Moreover, she investigated the outcome of tort reform on the judicialsystem in the United States. The title Hot Coffee in thedocumentary film resulted from Mac Donald Restaurant v.Liebeck, a lawsuit in which the coffee purchased from Mac Donaldspilled on the lap of the plaintiff Liebeck. Susan saladoffdemonstrated how United States companies are put in order of theconflict to pass successfully laws that limit prosecution. She alsoremarked that a campaign from lobby groups spread under a pretext ofcontrolling ‘legal lottery’ and ‘jackpot’ justice. Butaccording to Susan, companies wanted people to relinquish their rightto justice so that they can make more profits. The campaigns wereaimed at removing juries the right to determine the amount ofcompensation.
Susan showed that the stranglehold of commercial groups on justicecan take many forms, for instance, compulsory arbitration whereconsumer accepts to settle cases by arbitration not through courts.This led the propagandist to mobilize Americans to act individuallyin case they want to perceive changes in justice rather than joiningorganizational campaigns to victimize the sufferer. She also lamentedthat since it was people mandate to elect judges in most states,companies can spend a large sum of money to support judges who willrule in their favor during court cases or else ruin careers of judgesconsidered partisan. From all her remarks, one can conclude that shewas the most obvious propagandist.
Best of Enemies is a documentary film in America that wasco-directed by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon. The film discussestelevised debates between Vidal and Buckley in 1968 that Howardmoderated. From the debate, it was evidence that Vidal and Buckleywere celebrity intellectuals who were skilled controversialists whosehighbrow combat could be equated as mass entertainment. From themidst of all the acidulated jousting, Vidal and Buckley managed toarticulate opposing views on matters related to poverty and race, lawand order as well as cold war containment versus rollback. Frompolitical discourse in the presidential campaign of 1968, one canconclude that Buckley and Vidal, who deemed for national treasure,are forgotten. This makes the Best of Enemies film poignantdue to the sense of loss it left behind. The epic clash of Buckleyand Vidal also demonstrated that debate and theater were mutuallyinclusive and all one needed to have was clever controversialists whowere skilled in the mandarin inventive art as well as malice practiceand craved for fame as implacably opposed worldview salesmen.
The 1968 debates were a reflection of political unrest and changingmedia. For instance, Vidal and Buckley confrontation had a livecoverage, and it was full of nightsticks flying, police riots whowere attacking the war demonstrators in the parkland and on thestreets of Chicago. The unrest left the commentators eager and angryto take it out on one another. Before that , Vidal had warnedBuckley that Chicago was a soviet union prompting Buckley to cautionhim against drawing from the despicable and personal acts ofindividual police officer. However, the national media seemed to betaking stock and reassessing events using the anniversary of themoment. The Best of Enemies implied that the televiseddisplay of Vidal and Buckley hostility in 1968 led to a decline inthe quality of TV and other media political discourse. As a result,May 1968, is perceived as an epicenter of social changes thatoccurred over the course of two decades. By then, the rulingconservatives could dismiss the events that took place and the roleof media as a power struggle within leadership, but the idea was todiscourage people from analyzing values and ideas of the time.
History rhyme but rarely repeats itself, and if one would look backinto the history, there are many similarities in 2016 discourse andthat of 2968 election. There has been a consistent pattern duringelection, particularly at the presidential level. For instance,similar to Donald trump’s campaign, Wallace was the voice of middleworking class white people that had grown weary of the government.Thus, the media threw Wallace into the spotlight due to his remarksof calling for continuation of segregation as well as whitesupremacy.
In this era, just a few individuals thought that Trump would be doingwell, and this resembles Wallace third party campaign. The onlydifferent thing is the possibility of Trump getting nomination votesfrom Republican Party. Wallace was pleasing to many people and hadsimilar demographic issues just like Trump, but the difference isthat Trump is a billionaire in new yolk while Wallace was an ordinaryman from Alabama. To say the least, most elections are usuallyheated, passionate as well as create an unstable environment sincethey are fueled by a political discourse that are full of anger andattitude just like it was in 1968. The same contentious fight thatwas witnessed in 1968 and the media covered all of them are repeatingin 2016 between Chicago department of police and the demonstrators aswell as the anti-war activists.
During 1968 election, the network news was very trusted and looked onby the society as a source of vital information. This was before theintroduction of the internet as well as cable news that exist today.It seems all forms of TV have taken a back seat to pave the way forinternet news with its mobility and speed. Therefore, people have anopportunity to follow media outlets and campaigns that support theirideas.Besides the infighting among the party members, the mediaroles remain significant up to date. From 1968 to now, there havealso been significant shifts in the polarization of U.S, and peoplewho are involved in the political systems do not see the need forcompromise or diplomacy. The year 1968 was a chaotic time just as itis in 2016, the country was, and it still is alienated, anddiscretion is an old thing in the regime.
From the poetry of propaganda, it is easier to reflect on thedifferences between the art that are politically conscious and theone that is propagandistic. For instance, podcast act one, theGuerilla Marketing tracks a propaganda campaign thatgovernment funded to persuade fighters to quit. The advertisingexecutive crafted a campaign that had a powerful impact to guerrillafighters as more than 2000 rebels were disbanded since the campaignbegan airing. During the interview that eventually created radiospots, the ex-guerilla fighters talked about what made them quit. Byso doing, the propaganda campaign made a permanent dent as moresoldiers opted to leave. The second act recounts outstandingelementary school play that had satirical musical excoriation from aclass of tech-entrepreneur. Most of the parents who attended the playwere tech sector workers, and they just had to sit and watch theirchildren spearing them as a cartoon villain. The musical gave anunexpected forum for airing political bent, and since it was an art,not advertising, the school evaded the accusation of propagandizing.This shows that there was no distinction between the propaganda andart.
The third act, prepared people to conceal the propaganda creepingaround on social media. When EPA tried to ask for public support forclean water rule proposal, they encouraged people especially thosewho use twitter to send pre-written tweets to their friends since thetweet supported the practice. This led the government accountabilityofficer to rule that the campaign was an act of covert propaganda.The final act in the podcast features propaganda of Chinese followinga protest in 1989. After demonstration, the government of Chinesecrafted a story about national humiliation and mostly focused oninvasion of China by foreign countries who attacked them and wrongedthem thus diverting the attention away from its mistakes.
These podcasts lessons are illustrated in Hot Coffee as wellas the Pink Ribbon Inc. For instance, just like in the Poetryof Propaganda how the ex-guerrilla fighter were interviewed, inpink ribbon Inc, the cancer patients, pink ribbon campaign critics,as well as researcher and fundraisers, were surveyed to support theargument that just a little money from the campaign goes toprevention or treatment of cancer. However, some of thepharmaceutical companies make large sums of money to make cancertreatment drugs in one of their branches while the other operationalbranch produces potentially carcinogenic chemicals.
Just like in the Poetry of Propaganda there is no distinctionbetween propaganda and art, cosmetic companies boost pink ribbonevents while they still use chemical linked to cancer. Thus there isno distinction between the companies promoting cancer and companiespreventing cancer. But since these cosmetic industries have no safetystandards, the risk assessments, as well as safety studies, are notmade public. Although the pink ribbon campaign has raisedconsiderable amount of money, breast cancer treatment has notsucceeded due to chemical and radiation involved.
On the other hand, in Hot Coffee, campaigns from majorgroups aimed at confiscating juries from the fundamental right ofdetermining the amount of compensation. The public relation campaignhad misleading messages that were used in Hot Coffee. This canbe likened to the story crafted by the government about nationalhumiliation in the Poetry of Propaganda, to divert theattention of the public away from its errors. The media portrayedLiebeck as a victim who wanted extort money from the big company, butthe same media forgot to report of other cases of complaints fromburnt customers. This was also witnessed in the Poetry ofPropaganda where the media had double standard. Hot coffeeshowed how corporate interests helped by the press distorted thestory so as to wage PR war against individual rights which wereseeking redress in the courts. The corporate lobbyists steeredmillions of dollars so as to sway public opinion against the victimwho had been injured and those who rely on the courts to holdaccountable the wrong doers. The same is seen in the poetry ofpropaganda. The companies have resources to hire lobbyists toinfluence those who make laws and regulation that affect the lives ofthe injured.