THERE THEY GO AGAIN!
If that’s the kind of gas pipeline contract that’s laid on the table for public and legislative scrutiny, it will sell itself to the public and their representatives. Advertising (the commercial variety of political spin) the pipeline contract product will hardly be necessary
I read that the state is putting out a request for bids for an advertising agency to “sell” the gas pipeline contract to the public – and, by extension, to their elected representatives. But similar to the words of Ronald Reagan, “Well, there they go again!”
I have a big problem with public dollars of a publicly funded school district, municipality, or state being spent to advertise a government product, be it a school bond, a percent of market value payout (POMV) of permanent fund for government services, or a gas pipeline (whatever its route). How can someone on the other side of one of those issues combat a bottomless pit of governmental advertising dollars? They can't. There's no level playing field.
And please don’t tell me it’s not government “advertising,” it’s just a providing of “information.” By that logic, those of us who spend money advertising our political campaigns, aren’t really advertising, we’re just providing “information.” That would be disingenuous for a political candidate, and it's no less disingenuous for the state to call their advertising just “information.”
There are appropriate ways for the state to inform the public about a pipeline deal. The administration should provide public briefings throughout the state, as well as newspaper, television, and radio talk show interviews. Copies of the proposed contract - both in full and summary versions - should be made easily available to the public. Legislators should make themselves available for public input, and public testimony should be encouraged at committee hearings. Just like everything else the state does, there should be full disclosure – and it shouldn’t happen behind closed doors.
Let’s examine any gas pipeline contract on its own merits - not the merits of a cute jingo, motto, or slick television commercials. If it’s a good contract, or even halfway reasonable, advertising (or whatever spinmeisters want to label it) is unnecessary.