Friday, July 06, 2007

Unbelievable: Barnes, Marshall, Self, Taylor in Ficklin Campaign Ad

Councilman Henry Ficklin, candidate for Mayor of Macon, is fond of saying that he is "unbought, unbossed and unbiased." After the ad I that I just saw in the Georgia Informer, he can add another "un" to that list: unbelievable.

Ficklin has a full page color ad in the paper, and on the right side includes the photographs of Congressman Jim Marshall, Governor Roy Barnes, Lt. Governor Mark Taylor, Mayor C. Jack Ellis, Senator Robert Brown, Councilwomen Filomena Mullis, School Board President Lynn Farmer, Judge Tripp Self and others. In small print above the photographs, Ficklin acknowledges that these are people he has endorsed in the past, and under the photographs says, "Sheriffs, Councilmen, Commissioners, Many, many others..."

The ad may be technically accurate, but it is patently misleading. I don't know whether he asked permission of the others, but I have spoken to Lynn Farmer, School Board President, who did not know that her picture was going to appear in this ad. Ficklin, who prides himself on attention to detail and knowledge of the city finances ought to be ashamed of himself. The people of Macon have spent the last eight years learning to mistrust City government. Most voters are sick and tired of the kind of slipping through the loopholes sleight of hand this ad represents. I am really sad to see Ficklin take this route. It looks like a desperate move. He does bring a lot of personal strength and experience to the race, but if he doesn't get that trust is first and foremost in the minds of voters, he's already lost this election.

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17 comments:

Henry said...

Amy, you seem to be the only one with the right to have fun during an election. What is so "unbelievable" about me naming the candidates who I have supported over the years and I am proud of having done so? The advertisement world longs for clever ways to get the public's attention in order to give them the real message and that is why advertising agencies make the big bucks. Superbowl Sunday is full of ads that are designed to get the attention, which is what my ad was designed to do and obviously did. The ad causes you to see the pictures and then in your mind say, "Whooooooooooa." Then read the ad and get the real message, which you apparently left out of your story so that your story would be misleding. Why didn't you give your readers the "rest of the story?" Nothing is unbelievable about telling voters that their endorsement is really the one that matters, is there? There is no small print in the article and I am glad to see that you did acknowledge that the print came before the pictures. Ads are meant to be read. I don't insult the intelligence of others by assuming that they don't read the messages in ads.If I had been trying to mistled or use a sleight of hand, then it would appear that the print would have come after the pictures. I am sorry that you missed the point. And I am even more sorry that you failed to point out the point after you got it. Hey, your advice in this blog is to have fun during this election. Does that not include me?
Ads and editorial cartoons have fun with elections everyday, there is a comedy show planned for the Douglass Theatre next week and I am sure candidates will be portrayed without permission. What really gets me about your discontent is that you accuse me of desperation, trickery and mistrust. You couldn't be further from the truth. Perhaps an attention getting ad that didn't come from the right candidate and used the wrong picture was just what you have been looking for to declare that I have lost already. My whole campaign and life is about trust and please don't (in your anger) besmirch me in that way. There will be other elections, since I have lost this one according you. Please know this, I get it and my record shows it, don't alter it. I know that the pen is mighter that the bullet, so please spare my life. Oh, by the way, I don't recall you getting my permission to be in your blog (smile).

Amy Morton said...

Henry, how could I be angry with you?? I like you, respect you, but don't like what you did with this ad. As I told you this afternoon, this is my opinion about your ad, and that's all.

I wish you the best in this race, but as I told you, while I take you at your word that you did not intend to mislead, whether or not you intended it, I do think that this ad is misleading. It is that moment you refer to when a reader sees the pictures and in their mind says, "Whooooooa" that is the problem. Like it or not, people are busy and tend to skim and scan. It has nothing to do with intelligence. It's about first impressions. Any advertising person will tell you that. And, if there was a chance that a single voter would see the ad and in error assume that those pictured have endorsed you, then I think that's a problem. As you planned this ad, did you ever question whether the photographs should be used? Did you ever question whether you should ask the permission of those pictured, or at least let them know that you were including them in your ad?

As you know, I'm supporting no one in particular in this race, and have been impressed with many of your responses in the debates. Your years on council, your experience on appropriations and your involvement in the school system are all strengths. I'm just not impressed with this ad. Sure, it's far, far from the most misleading or most offensive political ad I've ever seen, but I just would not have expected this from you.

You are obviously comfortable with the ad, so we're just going to have to disagree on this one.

Henry said...

Thanks Amy, we are in disagreement. I have not received one negative comment about the ad except yours of course. But, as I told you when we spoke, I did not want to use the pictures, but the advise of my media group was to use the pictures and that it would make all the difference. They were right. I got a call from several people who had read the Telegraph and they wanted to know where to get a copy of the Georgia Informer. Others have said that I have gotten more millage out of this ad than the Informer could have ever given me and they understand the message, because the people in the ad are unlikely to have endorsed me or any one. And, I do know that my friend and judge, Tripp Self, is prohibited from endorsing candidates and would never say that he has violated an oath to endorse me. This ad with your help has done more for my campaign than I ever expected it to do. People who never would have read the Informer are now seeking copies of it for a look at the ad. All I've heard from those who have called say what a clever publicity concept. I knew it would be an eye-catcher, but I never anticipated such wide exposure. Thanks and I am OK with our disagreement. I understand your viewpoint, it is just disconcerting that you don't see mine. The people, the voters are still the best endorsement that any candidate can get. I have lived my entire life underscored by trust and it is still my keystone.

Amy Morton said...

Shh...Henry. People are going to suspect that this was a secret plot between you and Macon's newest "Democratic operative." :)

VictoratGaImproper said...

Welcome to blogdom cousin Henry. Here is some cousinly link love for ya. Thanks for all you do to inspire the kids at Southwest and beyond:

http://www.ficklinformayor.com/

Alicia Miranda said...

Love the ad ... different from the rest.

Robert said...

My biggest problem with what Henry did is that I am tired of politicians playing games with words. We have just had seven years of a mayor who twists and turns words to make them fit his actions. Remember when Council passed an ordinance to prohibit him from entereing into a contract for more than a certain level. He then entered into numerous weekly contracts instead of one lengthy contract. None of the weekly contracts were over the limit, but the total of them greatly exceeded his authority. However, he argued that he had not technically violated the ordinance. Maybe misleading voters is not illegal, but it just isn't right.

Candidate need to speak out in plain speech. For instance, one Council candiate was asked if he supports consolidation. His answer- "Yes, when it comes to duplicate services (city & county engineer, inspections & licenses fee)". That yes means no.
I admit, the Ficklin ad was clever, but we do not need "clever" candidates, we need honest ones.

Robert said...

By the way, I am not that Robert. I am the other one.

Tony said...

Yes, Robert, we do need clever people in office. It is the dumb ones that have messed things up. I think the ad was very truthful and a new turn of events. Who cares what some politician, who might be geting paid in some way, endorse? Henry is right. What the people think is the only thing that matters.

KevinDumont said...

Henry Ficklin is the most honest person I have ever met. Once I was riding with him and he asked me to get him a newspaper from the stand. I got out put the fifty cents in the machine and I figured, well I might as well get one for myself and got two papers. When I got back into the car with two papers he almost made me walk. He insisted that I go back and put the coins in the paper machine, then open and close it without getting another paper. No one was around to see what was done. That was just his way. He is like that. Now when I get a paper for free, I never let him know it.

KevinDumont said...

Robert, who is not the other one, go to Travis fain's blog Lucid Idiocy and read the responses of both Ficklin and the Robert that you are not and tell me who's speaking in clear plain understandable speech. Leave everything else out.

VictoratGaImproper said...

amy, a lot of people have newly registered, july,blog accounts. is there an election comin up or something?

who is the "other robert?" on second thought, who was the first robert that the second robert was talking about?

kevin, i'm tellin P.J., she will whip your mustang sally all the way back to france.

Amy Morton said...

Vic, do you think that these new bloggers know that the blog owner can track IP addresses? Now, I don't have the time for that sort of fun, but, I'm just saying...

VictoratGaImproper said...

not only track the ip address but zoom down on the top of their roof.
so i guess the lesson is not to nude sunbathe or do the hokey pokey on one's roof while an election is going on.

Tina said...

Politics in Macon is very entertaining, and may it always be so...gets people interested and involved...beats being boring !!

Amy Morton said...

Oh, yes. We have interesting down to a science around here. Just wait to see what the next week brings.

MSF said...

I will say that I found KevinDumont's comment on here a little bit amusing. Do people still think the "You should vote for him because he's a swell guy" logic still works?