Click bait articles and headline jacking efforts are just the latest in a long line of American hucksterism that began with Western, one man traveling wagon shows and continued through to TV infomercials from Billy Mays for OxiClean.

The first inherent problem with of all these forms of advertisement is the combination of shameless flim-flamism, the deceit of the short con, and the promise of a good deal of vaudeville.

The inherent false promise in this tradition plays on the long-standing, human desire for just one easy step that solves a difficult problem, fulfills an unmet need, or at the very minimum, entertains the viewer outrageously.

The reason why concerns about the lack of regulation in election advertising fall on deaf ears every two to four years is that the majority of election advertising is targeted at about the same level of click bait, online advertising and blog posts.

Add to all of it, candidates approving messages that, if your kid, your partner or your friend said them, you’d tell them they were full of it.

And we all know what “it” is.

“It seems so simple. It should be easy.”

This statement came out of a workshop I did recently as well as a podcast interview I gave recently.

Well, if the Truth were simple and easy, hucksters, flim-flam men, election year advertising, and other forms of selling that create artificial conflicts, fake disruptions, and incoherent disconnections, wouldn’t be so popular to use as shortcuts to the capital “T” truth.

And clickbait articles would drive almost no traffic on social media and in new journalism.

Do you feel like you saved $100 yet today?

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT:

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