What Fake Vaping News Teaches Us About Fake News
If you know anything about the electronic cigarette industry, you know that fake vaping news is everywhere. The vaping debate has made many of us rethink everything that we see and hear coming from our news media. A lot of fake vaping news has been exposed and debunked. Despite being debunked, the myths about electronic cigarettes have still managed to sink into public opinion. By an large, the anti-vaping propaganda put out by special interests has indeed been effective.
I have long been a skeptic of the mainstream media and of all media for that matter. No, people can consume the media that supports their world view. No one challenges their preferred beliefs anymore and that’s a problem. The mainstream media once the arbiter of truth is now simply a merchant of chaos. The point is that fake vaping news or any fake news is not really of interest to the media outlets. What is of interest is anything that draws the attention of eyes and ears. What gets clicks.
My main point is that fake news is not really a part of one agenda or another, fake news is an agenda unto itself. Fake vaping news is scary! Scary gets clicks. Corruption, conflict, scandal.. all of it is amazing for clicks. Drama sells. Do I believe that Big Pharma is contacting MSM reporters and saying “hey, run this scary e-cigarette explosion story so people will hate vaping.”? No. I do not believe that. You could not keep something like that under wraps. Fortunately for Big Tobacco and Big Pharma, there really is no need whatsoever to collaborate with the mainstream media when they are so easy to manipulate.
The Amplification Of Fake Vaping News
As mentioned, there is no need for the FDA, Big Pharma or Big Tobacco to coordinate misinformation with major media. Major, mainstream media is entirely predictable and predictably lazy. Give that truth, spreading fake vaping news is a very easy proposition. In fact spreading any fake news is easy. Cherry pick data or create a result that supports a narrative. Now make sure that the narrative is scary, controversial or scandalous. You do that and the MSM will gladly spread your news complete with scary headlines and concerned looking faces on TV.
When it comes to fake vaping news, we have seen it a thousand times. One of the best examples is the old formaldehyde in e-cigs claim. If you overheat a coil and burn the e-liquid you can generate trace amounts of formaldehyde. If you burn anything it can release toxins. Combustion does that, not a revelation. No one enjoys burnt hits and no one vapes that way. But, formaldehyde in vapor is a scary sensation so no media really looks much deeper. All they see is a headline that will get clicks.
Fake news is the same thing. If you manipulate or cherry pick one thing to support an extreme, inflammatory conclusion you are going to get attention. You can essentially control the media narrative with leaks. Anyone notice anything like that?!?! Thought you might have.
Media, People Don’t Need You Anymore
So what I have described is a disappointing state of affairs. But, in reality I am excited to write this post today because of my optimism. Several years ago, I started ECCR to help people identify effective vapor products, to have their say and because I knew what you all knew… that any product like the electronic cigarette was going to have powerful enemies dedicating their energies to its failure. The real information is out there. Sometimes you have to look beyond the headline to get the truth. Enter the citizen journalist.
Now “professional journalists” will say that citizen journalists don’t have the train to decipher and source information. Excuse me? The same lazy professional journalists that are so easily manipulated? The same professional journalists that will print what they are told by a fake vaping news researcher? Look, real research is work. It takes time to dig into a topic. So called real journalists seldom dig into an issue. They write about vaping one day and waterskiing kittens the next. They don;t have time to dig in. We do. Citizen journalists are the information specialists of our time.
For years the powerful special interests have had their way with the flow of information. Not anymore. Through the internet and social media platforms citizen journalists have evolved.
Ultimately, deciphering the truth is up to each of us. If you read ECCR articles you will notice that we always source the data to support a conclusion. Have a look at the real data for yourself and make your own conclusions. Fake news is not going anywhere.