Blatant Propaganda

We received in the mail today a nice little piece of propaganda.

Effectively, it was 4 A4 pages (folded A3) of content-less, biased bashing of members of our local Shire council. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not particularly impressed by some of the decisions the Shire have made either, but it annoys me greatly to see someone mailing out such obviously one-sided garbage.

Just to give you some idea, the 3 articles "The Guardian" (which ironically claims to be "reporting" on Local Government) solely consist of badmouthing the current Shire President and other members of the Shire. Every article blatantly attacks the President in particular.

Now that's all well and good - everyone has the right to their own opinion - unless it's obvious that the only reason the articles were written is some sort of smear campaign.

I must admit though, it did offer me a bit of a chuckle when they had the audacity to proclaim that :

The Shire's spin doctors, who are paid $38,000 a year to make the Shire President look good, are not investigative reporters pursuing the truth in the interests of ratepayers and any local paper which had not prostituted itself for the sake of advertising revenue would treat their missives accordingly.

Phew. I'm not sure what is worse, the hypocrisy or the lack of punctuation.

Of course, you'd think that if someone has gone to the effort to prepare such a strongly worded paragraph/sentence, they would similarly exert the effort to back up their information by citing the source for at least some of their figures. Obviously, I am seriously misguided and would never get a job in the media.

What concerns me the most is where the funding for this obviously upstanding and important publication came from. Chances are, it's coming from my pocket somehow, and a mass mailing of folded double sided full colour gloss A3 sheets wouldn't be free. A preliminary figure I just rustled up from one of the large local printers (PDF Pricelist - see page 6) is approximately $850 for only 500 sheets. (Although the real printer is listed on the publication, they don't offer prices without a quote, so WorldWide's prices are just a guide). 2001 statistics suggest about 47,000 people living in the Shire. Let's say 4 people to a house, so approximately 10,000 houses.

Good way to sink somewhere around $15,000. Not including delivery, folding, etc.

Regardless, this whole incident made me think of Jeremy Zawodny's and Tim Bray's thoughts on using blogs to attack people.

I have to admit, although blogs are arguably more damaging, I'd much rather someone ran a smear campaign electronically, simply because it's not costing me money for you to ram your agenda down my throat. Sure, you've got something to say - doesn't mean I actually care to listen. If someone is spouting garbage on their blog then I can avoid it. It's a bit more difficult when someone is delivering said garbage to your door.