Political Brands
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Political Brands

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy

From ‘I Like Ike’ to Trump’s MAGA hats, branding and politics have gone hand in hand, selling ideas, ideals and candidates. Political Brands explores the legal framework for the use of commercial branding and advertising techniques in presidential political campaigns, as well as the impact of politics on commercial brands. This thought provoking book examines how branding is used by citizens to change public policy, from Civil Rights activists in the 1960s to survivors of the 2018 Parkland massacre.
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Chapter 7: Branding the news

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy


President Trump has deployed branding techniques against journalists by calling accurate yet negative news stories about him “fake news.” Additionally, he has called papers of record “enemies of the people.” These phrases are used by authoritarians and dictators to discredit the free press. One of the reasons why calling a particular piece of journalism “fake news” is so effective is that totally bogus, made-up nonsense stories are available online. This chapter contrasts “fake news” (real news which is critical of Trump) with “bogus news” (which has no basis in fact). An example of “bogus news” that many members of public mistook as true was a conspiracy now called “Pizzagate.” A gunman who believed this bogus news showed up at a pizzeria with a gun, thinking that it was a location for human trafficking. He was sadly mistaken and ended up with a four-year prison sentence.

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