There are laws that prevent advertisers from claiming things that aren’t true. For instance if I were selling cod liver oil I couldn’t advertise that it cures cancer because it doesn’t. The laws were put in place by our government and were intended to protect the public. I guess it all started back with the snake oil salesmen who sold snake oil that not only cured every ailment known to man, it also removed stubborn stains and made a darn good hair oil. I think it was the precursor to Dippity Do. How many of you remember that stuff? The point is, snake oil didnt'work.
There are also laws that protect us when we are taking out a loan. They are called Truth in lending acts. They protect us from bad lenders who would slip in things like huge balloon payments or astronomically high interest rates. Well it’s supposed to anyway. Some lenders just hide it in the small print. Since most people don’t read the fine print these bad lenders are able to still prey on the unknowing public. What they are doing isn’t a “legal” crime it is only a “moral” crime. No legal laws were broken so they get away with it. Until the end that is.
But what about Truth in reporting? Where are the laws to protect us from false or misleading reporting? This wasn’t a big problem years ago but it seems to be the norm these days. Maybe it was always like this but I don’t think so. For years, reporters just reported what they saw or heard. There wasn’t any opinion thrown into the mix. Opinion type reporting was done in the “Letters to the Editor” section. Those articles usually have a disclaimer stating that what’s written is the opinion of the editor and not necessarily the opinion of the paper or magazine.
Now when a reporter does a story, they only report the part that they want you to know. These partial stories are written in an attempt to sway or persuade the readers. Headlines are written in a misleading fashion. Facts are omitted to make us believe the truth is something that it really isn’t. They also throw in their own opinion to enforce their point. It is no longer unbiased reporting. It is trickery and deception and there is nothing we can do about it. Does this seem right to you?
Just yesterday I was reading a story about unemployment. The headlines said: “The rise in unemployment is the lowest it has been since January.” Sure that statement is true but it is very misleading. I heard someone in our office make the comment that unemployment was finally coming down. That’s not what I read, so I looked a little closer (read the fine print) and got the real story. The more correct headline would have been: ”Unemployment up again for the 7th straight month.” That’s what the truth is. It’s just not rising at as high of a rate as it was last month. The reporter also stated that they felt this was a sign that the recession was ending. This reporter wanted to print good news so he twisted the truth to make it sound good.
Why has happened to us that we have to resort to deception in order to sell a news paper or magazine. To me this is wrong. Reporting is now just fictional writing with a bit of truth thrown in for legal reasons. And now I have to wonder how many people read that and are happy with the way things are going in America. I'm not.
Have a great day,