Thieves all around us
August 9, 2006
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I ran across an interesting news story today regarding a video spoof of Al Gore on the popular video sharing site YouTube. The video entitled “Al Gore’s Penguin Army” was seemingly a simple spoof by some bored 29-year-old guy who didn’t share Gore’s opinion about global warming in his new movie “An Inconvenient Truth” (which I saw a month ago, and despite what you might believe, it is an excellent movie that stays very non-political while discussing the crisis we are facing due to global warming). But after a little digging by the Wall Street Journal, it was found that the movie was actually produced by a very well-funded Republican public relations firm, DCI, which also does a lot of work for oil giant Exxon (story here).
So this is yet another example of how major corporations are manipulating the internet into just another mass marketing machine. And in instances like this, it is very successful because most people are not aware that they are watching something put together by people with a lot of money for the sole purpose of shaping their opinion. Instead, they think the average viewer thinks they’re just watching some funny video an average guy just like them put together in their basement. I don’t know about you, but I get very upset when corporations, political parties, or anything other group with a ton of money, try to use this sort of guerilla marketing to try to shape my opinions without being upfront about it.
Another group that is infiltrating the web is the military. As if requiring schools to allow them to show up and harass their students into joining was not enough, the various branches of the military are now crawling all over MySpace, trying to by your “friend” and ultimately get you to join in on their fun (story here). There have also been rumors around for a while about record labels starting up their own blogs under the guise of normal music fans to stealthily promote their own bands.
So the bottom line is, as if you needed to be told, don’t trust what you read/see/hear on the internet. That diary you’ve been reading might actually be funded by a huge corporation like Johnson & Johnson to try and sell you a certain kind of soap that the author might conveniently mention here and there.