Appearances, appearances. In today’s increasingly materialistic and shallow society, people generally have little time to listen to what is being presented to them, rather focusing on who is presenting to them. A cause supported by Brad Pitt will have significantly more impact than even the most well researched scientific document. The media has tricked the populous into believing that fame or money intrinsically grants a moral high ground, and ideologies spouted from these positions of power become infallible truths. Brad Pitt’s cause becomes the attractive option. Saving the whales is now the attractive option. Currently, society is buying into the façade that supporting prochoice is the attractive option.
But what does this mean for the LifeChoice cause? Well, public perception of our cause is bleak. “Pro-lifers” are often portrayed by the media as staunchly conservative white bigoted males, while Pro-choicers are thought of as open-minded, rational people, selflessly protecting the rights of women. If we are to change the culture, to spread the agenda of life, we must change public opinion of our cause. This requires the use of the media.
Media is often viewed by society in two main mindsets. Many believe the media to be a public service, the town crier justly proclaiming the good news, exposing those who dare do wrong. Others view the media as a sinister force, in the back pocket of the government, slowly polluting the minds of the populous. Mass media is in fact none of these things. It is a tool, a tool that can be used for either good or bad. It is our duty to use this tool to promote our cause.
Approaching more traditional media outlets is best done by using a press release. For the sake of brevity, visit sites such as http://www.templatepressrelease.com/ to get a better understanding of a press release format. Composing an actual press release is fairly trivial, so long as actual interesting ‘news worthy’ information is given. Journalists are always hungry for stories, especially during weekends or slow news weeks. Before you know it your message will be thrust into the public domain, where the real challenge begins.
Playing with mass media is akin to playing with fire. Stick around too long, and you’re bound to get burnt. It is incredibly important to pick your battles. Release your message, perhaps follow up on criticisms, and then remove yourself from the harsh glare of the public eye. It is very tempting to promote all your causes at once when media attention is gained, but this often has the inversely desired effect of confusing and diluting your message.
Choosing the right spokesperson is critical. A spokesperson can be compared to the salesman, the face of the operation. You ultimately ‘selling’ your ideology, so choosing the right spokesperson can make or break your PR campaign. Typically a young woman speaker is optimal, as it quickly shuts down the feminist cries of sexism. However it is beneficial to train all authority figures connected to your cause in a basic media overview course, just in case a member falls into a media snare set by a sensationalist journalist.
The main focus of many is that of traditional media, but in today’s technological era we have access to one of the most powerful melting pots of ideas, the internet. A social media campaign is cheap and easy. Facebook activism, although rarely effective in the long term, can generate buzz about your cause. Other approaches to social media include YouTube videos and memes. If these are humorous or inspiring, it creates a situation where users are actively searching for your advertisement, quickly spreading the message to tens of thousands. And of course a blog is a good place to start, but we have that covered already.
Ultimately, through our intervention via mass media, we can slowly shift the collective psyche of the masses. A continual bombardment of information through multiple sources will allow the truth to slowly permeate into the mainstream mentality. Our facts are well researched, our logic is sound. It is our public perception that needs to change. By tapping into the power of the behemoth that we call the media, we can make that change. We can make Pro-life the attractive option.