How to Find the Truth in Advertising and News

How to Find the Truth in Advertising and News

Only about 2 in 10 Americans trust their news.  Which begs the question, where do you get your news?  Which news organization do you trust the most?  How do you know it’s truthful? 

I’ve been working at an ad agency for 25 years and “ad” people have often been snubbed as less than truthful.  Can you believe it?  It’s true! Spending my career in the business, I’ve become somewhat skeptical to claims.  Here are just a few:

You can’t say, “Get THE lowest price!”   How does the advertiser know for sure someone else isn’t going to sell it for less?  It’s OK to say, “Get OUR lowest price.” It isn’t as strong, but to most consumers, it sounds just about the same.

You can’t say, “Get 50% off” on a pre-owned item.  It may be 50% less than what it was originally priced at, but this is considered deceptive advertising. However, you can Say “Get 50% off original MSRP.”  This is legal because it’s implied that the item isn’t new. And of course, all good ad agencies will disclaim the ads.  We must, or we face the Attorney General and the wrath of the FTC.    

Which leads me to…where do you go to buy the news? 

We are all consumers of the news, and media companies are definitely the agency selling it to you. Unfortunately, most consumers are going to a source which most closely aligns with their views. In my opinion, that’s unhealthy for the palate.

Using the foodie analogy, a lot of news nowadays is fast food – full of quick opinions you can scarf down without much thought.  We like our biased news sources and snarf them down like too many cookies. We gorge ourselves on biased news with the instant gratification and bloating that reminds us we are right.  Add in the social media “candy” like Twitter, and you have a diabetic in the making.

So, my advice is to eat a well-rounded diet of news. Listen to the conservative and the liberal points of view.  If you lean left – check out “The Hill” and if your views skew to the right – consider “Slate”.  Check out the list put together based on content analysis of each major publication.  I’m sure the more right or left you are, the more you will disagree with this chart. But it’s a start. Come up with your version. But remember:  don’t digest only a few sources.  It’s bad for the gut. 

Look at multiple points of view. Be skeptical of bold claims and the editorialization of the news. Also, remember, there are no disclaimers in the news department. 

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Kirk Wooldridge

Kirk has the unique position of negotiating media from both sides of the table and has carried that expertise to The Miller Agency. More info
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