I just saw the Porter Stansberry commercial that runs on MSNBC and who knows what other channels. You know, it's the one where this visionary investor who predicted the demise of General Motors, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae is claiming the United States will soon face an economic catastrophe that is 10X worse than the 2008 U.S. economic collapse. The 30 second commercial claims a financial Armageddon is coming this year. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I do not know. Fortunately, he describes ways you can actually make money when the U.S. government goes kaput. In any event, I did listen to his entire infomercial. A few observations...
First is the doomsday ploy he uses to grab your attention. This was done through the short commercial blip. And it's pretty damn effective. I like how they showed the children playing in the schoolyard with the ominous, foreboding music in the background. I also was intrigued that he focused on the housing crisis and not companies like AIG. After all, most people have short attention spans when it comes to the specific insurance companies and banks. They're far more likely to have been affected by the housing crisis. Smart move w/ Freddie & Fannie, even though most people have only a vague understanding how these companies work. They just know that they're affiliated with the federal government. It is fair game though.
The major thing that stuck in my mind was the "IMMINENT DANGER WARNING - MANY PEOPLE WILL FIND THIS OFFENSIVE" at the top of the screen. There's an underlying suggestion that there are "corrupt individuals" that wish to silence him. If the information I'm about to divulge finds its way to the general public, we're all screwed. Never mind that it's pasted all over the interent. This is just a simple "me against them" approach. It's not very effective with me, but has this aggressive Fox News distribution mentality which is so pervasive these days.
I also thought the format was curious. There's no way to scroll through the damn thing. The timing bar at the bottom has been disabled so you have absolutely no idea how long this piece will drone on. You can't just sift through it. You have to listen to the thing in its entirety. I wouldn't be too shocked to see more of this stuff on the internet int he future. Very effective propaganda - just text with a reassuring voice overlay. My brother forwarded me a similar piece that lashed out against Bernanke, Geithner and the Federal Reserve. This one was far more convincing because they didn't try to sell me anything at the end.
The build up is fascinating. He spends about the first 75% building his resume. Impressing the listener with facts, figures, charts, quotes, etc. Also fair game but easily refuted. One of the key arguments he makes is that there's a growing number of countries who seek to suddenly eliminate the prevailing global U.S. currency standard. And it's all going to happen at once. Yep, you guessed it - in 2011. But he refuses to acknowledge that all the countries involved in this exclusive cabal would face dire economic consequences as well.
At the end of this unusual piece, he claims he has "secret" ways to save your finances and more importantly, "protect your family." This is big-time fear mongering. He even surprisingly mentions the possibility of stocking up, hiding out in the woods and living off-the-grid for 6 months. Surprised he took it to that level because that's not just scare tactics, it's pure fear mongering. The government will not protect you. They will only seek to protect themselves. You'll be left out in the cold. And your children will starve.
Finally, he makes his pitch. You've got to buy gold and silver NOW. Hey, this advice is free. Ahhh, cool. Thanks man. But wait, he has "secret" ways to go the extra mile that the government doesn't want you to know about. The investment advice is free but you need to pay the extra 50 bucks for the "inside" information which will strengthen your bank account even when the country is in a state of civil war. Also curious is his desire to be paid for this confidential information with U.S. currency - the stuff he feels is going to be totally worthless. Hmmm?
What I found fascinating was the build-up and production quality of the commercial. It's designed to appeal to your two base instincts, fear and greed. This is the oldest scam in the book. Prey upon the 2 biggest emotions that govern impetuous decision making. The pure rolling text lets you read along and be educated. Some words in bold, some underlined. The whole thing reminds me of my arch nemesis Benny Hinn, the world's leading billionaire televangelist. Hinn uses very similar tactics. Although far less informative from an intellectual standpoint, Benny loves to use the fear card (of course, he goes after your physical health AND financial well-being). Same general principles though.
I just found the whole thing fascinating because this Porter Stansberry creation could represent the first, major attempt to legitimize investment scams in the name of free speech. Stansberry has already been fined 1.5 million by the hated SEC for some "monetary free speech" issues that arose in 2002. So he has this cult-like standing to pursue his cause. And we've already seen political commentators like Glen Beck pushing for a return to the gold standard. Maybe Beck, Stansberry and Benny Hinn could get together and resurrect the Cross of Gold speech (William Jennings Bryant - see, that 10th grade U.S. history class finally paid off). I think it's interesting that MSNBC execs took the low road and decided to run this ad. Perhaps they weren't given a choice or some form of leverage was exacted upon them. Either way, I suspect you'll see a case of this nature make it's way to the Supreme Court. The pervasive elements of fear-mongering and "the world is coming to an end" make this type of sales pitch unique. Then again, even this Supreme Court (trending conservative) thinks free speech is pretty absolute with the recent cases to greatly loosen laws regarding private corporation contributions to political campaigns and of course the Westboro Bapist fucks. What happens in Topeka, stays in Topeka. Well... not in this day and age.
Will the United States face an unfathomable economic collapse in 2001? Possibly. I do not know. But here's something I do know. As the economy continues to flounder, I suspect this commercial, the accompanying internet advertisement and similar politically inspired financial schemes will become more commonplace. I look for some fallout on this one because Stansberry takes it to an entirely new level.
And here's what's really crazy... After railing against Stansberry's straw house arguments, emphasis on doomsday scenarios and unabashed fear mongering, I still think he has the first amendment right to push this drivel on the American public. And I have a hunch the current S.C.O.T.U.S. will back his ass up.