In a Polarized World, What We Do In Advertising Matters

Dave Morgan
Dave Morgan  |  Chief Executive Officer
Updated: Sep. 24, 2021
Published: Sep. 15, 2021

This is one of those times of year that seem to call for some extra reflection. Summer is winding down. School is back in session. And all of us in advertising and media -- like everyone else -- continue to grapple with the multi-pronged challenges of an ongoing global pandemic likely to become endemic in some form, an increasingly digital world that creates both extraordinary opportunities and frightening disruptions, and greater global interconnectedness -- which means someone's problems on the other side of the world become all our problems.

Here are a few items I’m reflecting on these days:

Not everything about COVID needs to be polarized. Sometimes you get some rays of moderating sunshine. On Labor Day, FOX’s Dr. Nicole Saphier tweeted, “The best path forward that will bring the most amount of happiness and health is if vaccinated adults stop overestimating their Covid risk and unvaccinated adults stop underestimating theirs.”

What we do in advertising matters. In a world with increasing polarization between the haves and have-nots, it’s good to be reminded that advertising pays the bills for the majority of independent (non-government-owned) news reporting and distribution around the world. We may not like all the news and opinion published today -- we shouldn't -- but we should be very happy that advertising can make so much diverse news and information available and accessible to so many.

Watching the crackdowns in China over the past months -- particularly against those who had been emerging with some independence working in news, entertainment and Internet -- should remind us of the importance of independent media.

September 9 Was Tom Deierlien’s Life Day. I’ve written a number of times about longtime industry leader and legend Tom Deierlein. Today is Tom’s Life Day. It was 15 years ago on Sept. 9, 2006 when he was shot by a sniper in Baghdad and survived. After making an extraordinary recovery, one chronicled in Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, Tom has made unbelievable use of these 15 years, helping raise an amazing family. starting a multimillion-dollar tech company from scratch, mentoring hundreds of future leaders -- and, so importantly, creating a foundation that is helping many thousands of veterans and their families in dire need. Tom is a daily reminder that we can all make a difference.

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An earlier version of this blog was originally published by MediaPost.