Tuesday, March 14, 2017

NYT: How the Media Conforms the Mind

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The New York Times ran a feature story yesterday titled, "What's Madison Avenue Pitching Now? Cultural and Political Awareness."

It's beyond "awareness." They are making the "hard sell" for a secular progressive Left worldview.

In fact, the Times says some high-powered ad agencies "have decided to advance cultural and political causes rather than selling products."

And they're doing it "pro-bono"--free, for the activist organizations.

The Times says, "It is not unusual for agencies to work with nonprofit groups or create public service announcements, pro bono, but this new activism entails a deeper level of involvement."

Indeed it does, and the "deeper involvement" seeks to control the narrative in both politics and cultural, moral beliefs in America---from bathrooms to bedrooms to boardrooms.

The New York Times mentions several ad agency projects that are designed to conform the mind of America to what biblical Christianity would call "the world," rather than continuing to hold to traditional Judeo-Christian values and norms.

The Times says, "For instance, an ad agency in Austin, Tex., recently teamed up with a community health organization, the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] and the director Richard Linklater to produce an online video, released last month, opposing a state bill that would require transgender people to use the bathrooms corresponding with the gender on their birth certificates in public schools and government-funded buildings."

The Times says, "The campaign included a 60-second video directed by Mr. Linklater---the tag line: 'I pee with the LGBT'---and 15-second versions, which are being disseminated through targeted Facebook advertising."

The Times covers the upside of people who will agree and the downside of people who will oppose and how that translates to lost and gained revenue etc.

However, they conclude, many leading ad agencies in America are willing to take the risk because their young employees are all in, in the effort to change the culture.

Besides the direct approach of selling a belief, the ad agencies are also placing images in commercials that secondarily "normalize" what may now be considered "not normal," while selling a product like a car, clothes, etc.

I have noticed, and it is affirmed in statistics, there is an increase in integrating homosexual couples, often showing affection, into commercials that are selling something that is "fun," like a cruise, vacation, etc.

Commercials that are selling household items will most often visually characterize "the family" with one parent. Or with a confused male, with a female taking charge and covering for the bungling man. Or a "normal" homosexual couple.

This general media effort to conform our thinking regarding political and cultural, moral issues is directed at both adults and children.

The Adults

There are thousands of examples---here's one from this past weekend that shows how so-called "news" is crafted to re-shape the American mind.

This past weekend the news media published screaming headlines that President Donald Trump is getting rid of 46 US attorneys appointed by Barack Obama.

POLITICO, not the most far Left news organization but certainly not conservative, ran this headline: "Trump team ousts Obama-appointed US attorneys."

In 2009 Politico ran this headline: "Obama to replace US Attorneys." Both articles written by the same journalist, Josh Gerstein.

New presidents nearly always appoint their own US attorneys, but Politico clearly chose a headline that casts Trump's action in a negative light, while choosing a headline that cast Obama in a business as usual light.

Multiply that by a million, and call it the "news."

Mike Huckabee called out TIME Magazine the other day on the same kind of thing.

He slammed a TIME story that said President Trump's opposition to Washington bureaucracy could come at the expense of our democracy.

Huckabee said this is the latest example of an anti-Trump press writing a "contemptuous and condescending story."

He said, "This is the zenith of what people are disgusted by." It is, but it is also the zenith of how the press seeks to manipulate the mind of the public.

Huckabee compared Trump to a prophetic figure coming down the mountain to take away the "golden calf" from the "god of government."

I like Mike, but I'm not sure about that analogy---I am sure, however, and so are most of you who are reading this, that the media tries daily to shape our mind and conform it to a far Left secular progressive worldview.

It is at the heart of the battle for the mind.

The bullseye of their efforts, however, is our kids and grandkids.

The Children

The New York Times article quotes Kirsten Flanik, president of BBDO, a significant New York ad agency---she says, "We're storytellers, so if we're going to create a movement, we're going to do it through stories."

Certainly, the programs our children watch on television tell stories. The movies our kids see tell stories.

No question what kids watch on television and movies shape what they believe.

During the 1970s I spent a great deal of time in third-world (developing) countries in Christian missionary ministry.

This included the South Pacific, where we helped build about 20 Christian churches, a Bible school, and a Christian radio station.

During that time, television had just come to some of the islands, or was about to become available.

Harvard anthropologist Anne Becker surveyed the young women in Fiji before and after the arrival of television. Before television was available, teenage girls were generally happy with their appearance. Three years after television became available, 74% of the girls in the same communities felt they were too fat.

Since those days, advertising and branding has become infinitely more sophisticated and intense, particularly toward children.

Today, advertisers spend $17 billion dollars per year advertising to kids. That's a lot of money to spend influencing children if it isn't effective, but they know it is.

So much so that over the past decade, "neuromarketing" has been developed and is used to understand just how to get the greatest response from children.

Neuromarketing is used to understand how to influence children and their decision making.

Neuromarketing is the application of neuroscience techniques to analyze and understand how people behave in relation to advertisements they see and hear.

Marketers have used this tool by hooking EEG or MEG equipment up to children and looking at how they react to different kinds of ads and the stimuli in them.

They have learned subtle ways of manipulating our brain that essentially is unknown to the child and the adult.

A current example of brand development would be, "Oh, that's a Disney movie, that would be fine for my child." That may have been true in the days of Disney himself, but today parents know that is not always the case.

The American Psychological Association found that a majority of American children have a television in their own bedroom, and a majority of children have unsupervised time on the computer, "meaning much of the media (and advertising) content that children view is in the contexts absent parental monitoring and supervision."

The APA reports that children "view more than 40,000 commercials each year." Other reports have found that on average kids watch 4.5 hours of television per day, and up to 3 hours playing video games per day.

Neil Kraft, president and creative director of KraftWorks agency, told the New York Times his millennial age employees are "especially enthusiastic" about changing the culture using the skills of the industry.

Duff Stewart, chief executive of GSD&M Agency, told the NYT, "If we don't speak up, somebody else will. This last election is evidence that we cannot be complacent. We have to talk about and stand up for our beliefs. If you're not speaking up, you're not going to be heard."

If these agencies will use their psycho analysis of children to sell McDonalds and Cheerios, they will certainly use them to conform the mind of your child to a secular worldview.

We too have got to talk about and stand up for our beliefs.

Parents---please be hyper aware of what your young children are hearing and watching. And equally be fully engaged in talking with them and showing them the Lord's way.

The most effective way to "talk about" and "stand up" for our beliefs is found, not in the psycho-analysis of our kids used in today's media complex, but in the counsel of a 3400-year-old instruction from God Himself to parents of all times:

Deuteronomy 6: 5-9: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart."

Parents must authentically "stand for their beliefs".

Then, we must "talk about it" to our children.

"You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates."