Humor in Political Propaganda

Manila Bulletin, February 6, 2004 | Go to article overview

Humor in Political Propaganda


Byline: Elinando B Cinco

TEXTS or wordings that go into political propaganda materials are never reviewed by the Comelec which makes some of the exaggerated messages either incredible or downright funny.

The probable reason is that the poll body does not have the essential time and expertise to pass judgment on what message does or does not respect the intelligence of the electorate.

One can just imagine the Titanic task if the Comelec reviews and sanctions propaganda materials that are created for the elections in eight major dialects in the country.

The rule of thumb is that the texts copy, in the case of the print media, and script, in broadcast and electronic media must be sensible and supportable.

Many of those in the communication business are serious in their opinion that the Comelec should have a section that should screen those propaganda materials, much like the function of DTIs consumer welfare division.

The idea being to:

First, guide candidates in coming up with rational propaganda materials text and layout, even script that carry their program issues believable to the electorate.

Second, classify and bluepencil "nuisance" and impertinent information materials to keep them from being made the butt of jokes of the voting public.

It is widely known that candidates have the propensity of staking illogical claims and dishing out fantastic promises, like handing to the electorate and proverbial "moons and stars."

The zany promises

As one who has been involved in corporate and marketing communication for years, I remember some of the memorable texts put together by candidates in their propaganda materials in not too distant past.

Some of those who made it to the roster:

Proponents of the Statehood USA campaign fielded aspirants in the 1969 elections. Their enticing come-on "Be an American in your own country."

The copy insisted if the Philippines became Americas 61st state, Filipinos were automatically American citizens.

In the mid-1960s when political campaigning was not as organized as it is today, a former Manila official running for senator had his posters in major dialects.

In the confusion, his staff sent the ones with Arabic text to Samar, instead of to Samal island in Davao. And those in the Cebuano dialect were shipped to Cagayan province in the north when they should have gone to Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao.

One could just imagine the head-scratching of residents in those provinces where the missent and misplaced campaign materials were displayed.

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