The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
The Morning Mendacity
Friday, September 30th, 2005
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?
When the sales of General Motors or Ford fall, as they have been steadily over the years, the automotive giants respond with a characteristic flight of MBA fancy.  Instead of pouring resources into building better and therefore more popular cars, Ford and GM increase spending on advertising.  For the business school wunderkinds in charge of the companies’ strategy, it doesn’t really matter that the Ford Explorer and the GM Hummer are shoddily-made, over-priced deathtraps;  if the advertising is right, the product will sell.

And this strategy is hardly confined to the auto makers.  When the big pharmaceutical companies produce yet another ineffective or copy-cat drug, lavish ad campaigns, not the benefits of the drug itself, are relied on for sales.  All the giant manufacturers of similar-tasting beers, or virtually identical computers, gasolines, or cereals do precisely the same thing.  A favorite phrase in the marketing ranks on Wall Street is “sell the sizzle, not the steak,” a maxim with special application for products like shoddy cars, ineffective drugs, or worthless securities, that contain no “steak” anyway.

So it’s not surprising that the nation’s first MBA President, George W. Bush, has adopted a similar strategy to promote his foreign policy abroad.  As a graduate of the Harvard Business School, Mr. Bush stays true to his training by refusing to rethink such ruinous policies as the occupation of Iraq, or the unwavering support for toxic regimes in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or Israel.  Instead, he pours resources into marketing, the textbook MBA solution for a failing product.  Just tell the right story, goes the White House thinking, and  the customers will keep buying, even if it kills them.  This won’t help the thousands of voters who have actually perished due to Bush regime policies, but in the marketing game a dead consumer is of no account anyway.

That’s why Karen Hughes, former White House Communication Director, Texas telejournalist, and close presidential confidante, has just returned from a mission to Turkey and the Middle East to spread the good word about Bush administration foreign policy.  Smiling brightly, identifying herself as a “working mom”, Ms. Hughes worked hard to put a friendly face on the mayhem her boss has spread around the world.  Talking up the virtues of family and faith, Ms. Hughes adhered to the best marketing practices by repeating the same message wherever she went.  A central tenet of marketing principles holds that a slogan must be heard many times before it makes an impression, and Ms. Hughes clearly had this in mind when she said that the U.S. wants Palestinians to “have the experience of having children and families” on one occasion, and “something I have in common with the Turkish people – that they love children” on another.*

This page has noted Karen Hughes’ devotion to faith and family, not to say pets, before (see
A True SNAFU), and there is absolutely no question that she is the best possible person to re-brand the administration’s policies.  In the past, critics have offered slogans like “Blood for Oil” or “No Billionaire Left Behind” to encapsulate Mr. Bush’s rule.  After Ms. Hughes has done her job, those sentiments will be forgotten in the rush to embrace the White House’s new message.  Some of the possibilities Ms. Hughes is considering:

Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day (There Was No Bechtel Then)
Let There Be Light Supplied by Halliburton
All God’s ‘Chillun Got Spin
Kumbaya George, Kumbaya

Nobody understands better than the Bush White House the power of negative marketing.  And so, anticipating the need to distance the administration from some of its bigger embarrassments, a final slogan:

Sex And Drugs Iraq And Rove


©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2005
Last Words
Population Control, W Style
Cries and Whispers
Apocalypse Now
The Biggest Bathtub
One Ignoble Savage
The Meaning of Life
Carolina Dreaming
Doomed to Repeat It
Now a Member of the Worldwide Communities of Blogs at
VOL. I, No. 108