The candidates for Mayor of Chicago have begun to hit the airwaves with their pitches to get your attention and some are very interesting indeed. Former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says in his commercial that when he was top Cop crime and violence was at an unprecedented low. A former high ranking New York City Police Officer McCarthy became Chicago's top cop in 2011 after some 5 years as the Police Chief in Newark, New Jersey . While in Newark he was praised for the startling reduction in crime he managed to achieve. In 2011 he was named Chicago's Police Superintendent by Mayor Emanuel. For the first few years it seemed that his magic at reducing crime was working as well in Chicago.... until it wasn't.
When Mayor Emanuel promised 1,000 new officers for Chicago's streets turned into a 1,000 officers to be reshuffled from specialized units such as Gang Crime Specialists, things started to happen. Violent crime went soaring and the gangs suddenly had no watchdogs. Chicago was awash in high profile killings of children and innocence. By the time McCarthy realized something had to be done the criticism was mounting from the Mayor to the City Council. He responded by taking officers from administrative jobs, some who had not worked the street in decades and put them out to join the fight. He began to spend over a 100 million a year in overtime by union rules to try and get officers who sometimes worked in neighborhoods that they were unfamiliar with. An impossible task to try and combat Chicago's 50 to 55 main gangs, with 2,500 affiliates across the City working on part time basis.
Through all of this he still trotted out statistics that said the crime reduction was in fact true. The see no evil, hear no evil Pols, were not convinced, one Alderman told McCarthy she hears what he's saying but it's not the reality she's seeing. Indeed shortly after, Chicago Magazine's two great investigative reporters, David Bernstein and Noah Isackson, reported that the so called reduction in McCarthy's crime stats was in part due to unjustified categorization of murders the favorite being undetermined. One battered woman found dead, rotting, and bludgeoned and stuffed into an air mattress, for over a year was still not classified as a homicide. They described Chicago's crime stats as being misclassified, downgraded to slap on the wrist offenses or just made to vanish all together. Of course McCarthy denied all this saying it was untrue.
In a 2012 audit by Chicago's Inspector General did in fact confirm that the Department had under scored aggravated batteries and aggravated assaults by a whopping 25%. A new counting system had been put into place where incidents were counted instead of each victim. Makes you wonder about Newark? There will of course be more of the well healed candidates using Chicago's airwaves to get to those "SOFT FOCUS FOLKS," who don't have the time or inclination to know truth, exaggeration, myth or revisionist history. All they will know is what a candidate pays for and wants them to hear .
There is a reason that the Super Bowl is the most coveted by advertisers for their various products. Simple numbers of viewers tell the story. Some are willing to pay a million dollars for a minute of your attention, to tell you how much better your life is going to be buying their products. Some are so well done there is a rating the following week to critique their cleverness, style and creativity. It's treated the same as a movie critic reviewing debuting shows or movies. However, a glaring omission kinda goes unnoticed.
Is all the gassing and glitter about the product really true? Will our lives be better after purchasing their products? Is there any truth to what the commercial says about the product? With the exception of cigarettes I cannot think of any other product that would be banned from the airways if one has enough money to fork over to eager networks and local stations.
A viewing audience is considered a "SOFT FOCUS." If you can get to enough people to deliver your message to there is no question advertising works. Madison Avenue has proven that over and over again. This same theory holds true with political advertising. Without question the candidate that can drum up enough funds to bomb the airwaves with a constant stream of negative activity against an opponent is far likely to be be successful.
The last two people who ran for Governor of Illinois had zero experience in the political arena but they did have the one thing that stuck out like a thousand pound gorilla. They were both billionaires and they both spent over 130 million dollars apiece in advertising money bashing the living hell out of each other. In the end, Pritzker the billionaire was victorious over Rauner the billionaire. Without that advertising you wonder if either would have ever been heard from.
Money and advertising has become the most powerful tool available for the ambitious to gain power. Soft Focus indeed. They can virtually say anything they want, rewrite history, stretch facts, abandon any form of decorum and decency. Which brings me to February's upcoming election for Mayor. No less then 13 hopefuls are already shrieking, bashing, demeaning, promising and accusing each other in an effort to get the attention necessary for success.
Will it come down to who has the most money to spend? You can bet the farm it most likely will. One candidate who probably had as much chance to succeed as a hedgehog announced that he was dropping out of the race because sadly, he could not get his message out because he had no money to advertise. Another candidate is also on record saying he had to drop out because of lack of funds to advertise so unless somewhere down the line folks who want to run for office become Big Lotto winners or they come into millions, they are destined to always be on the side lines. Remember the tobacco industry? They spent billions on advertising telling us how good their product was for us. Remember "LSMFT "(Lucky Strikes Means Fine Tobacco)? Millions died because they had the money and Soft Focus folks. Believing everything you hear in a commercial might not kill you, but there is a lesson to be learned.
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