Why is New Mobility running an ad for a political issue — assisted suicide, or death with dignity if you prefer — on this website? The truth is, those of us on the editorial staff were shocked when we became aware of it (we do not control advertising, only editorial content). Frankly, if ad placement were up to me, I would not have accepted the ad from Compassion & Choices that began running on Monday, August 4. Nor would I have accepted an ad expressing the opposing opinion from Not Dead Yet. I would rather invite both groups, and their supporters, to discuss the issues in the pages of NM and online.

My reasoning is based on the nature of political agendas and how they are presented in advertising. In that world, which is ever more pervasive, controversial political issues face off in a kind of distorted courtroom atmosphere. Each side has its version of the truth, and the job of the attorney (advertising or PR agency) is to highlight its message and/or devalue the opposition’s. And in neither case does the jury (targeted audience) hear the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. What we get are half-truths, exaggeration, nuanced shading and skillful manipulation of language and images — all with the purpose of winning a verdict (votes). Sometimes we even get downright lies.

Speaking for myself, I believe the proper role of New Mobility should be to inform readers on political issues (especially hot-button issues). With controversial political positions, what we need is full discussion of the underlying issues and ramifications, not dueling “sound-bites” or provocative images or manipulative advertising.

What do you think?