In This Episode: There’s a lot of talk about accuracy in the media these days, up to and including frequent accusations that the mainstream press publishes “fake news.” For the most part, I don’t think that’s true, but that doesn’t mean people who watch TV or read news online don’t have to be intelligent consumers of news, especially when it comes to medical or scientific topics. Or, to put it another way, we need to exercise Uncommon Sense as a filter on the news, and this episode has an example of why.
UPDATE! I Will Won’t Stop Selling physical products to Colorado customers as of December 15 1st*, only because This is True is actually in Colorado. Jump to the Update.
Two stories in this week’s This is True illustrate a problem that’s growing, when it should be shrinking. Let’s start with the stories.
See Updates Below
Last Week’s Story about the teacher-student sex scandal in a Colorado school — the principal and vice principal were indicted for failure to report the case, as required since they’re “mandatory reporters” of child abuse under state law — is followed up this week by another that really applies to the whole mindset.
I’m taking a quick break from writing the stories for this week’s issue to tell you why I’m rejecting a story, even though it’s mind-boggling in its implication.
I have a little bit to say about a story this week, so let me start with that story — from the 26 November 2017 issue:
In my recent post about watching the Internet “grow up,” I noted True was a driving force in setting the “best practices” around email publishing — I pushed the first true Email Service Provider to add features I wanted, and one of those features was “double opt-in.”
You — Yes, You — Can “Do Something” about Mass Killings. A good friend of mine posted this yesterday, after he heard about the 49 murders at a “gay night club” in Orlando, Florida, overnight. The gunman was killed in a shoot-out with police.
Sometimes it’s fun to poke at obliviots — especially when they’re truly oblivious to their idiocy.
It’s a Matter of Control.
This is True went online in the first half of 1994, so True has been in business longer than many big names in the Internet biz, including Google (1998). As a classic feature column, I received (and turned down) syndication offers from two different newspaper syndicates, including one of the biggest in the business, because I wanted full control of True’s publication rights — including its online presence. And as of today, I’ve turned off Google’s “Adsense” service on this site for the same reason: to assert my control.
The Two Lead Stories this week (the “asthma stories”) were by far the most-suggested stories by readers recently. I think every one of them just suggested one or the other, and they probably didn’t know about the other. The two stories, which happened about a week apart, and about 165 miles apart, are pretty amazing together. Let’s start with the two stories, in True’s 24 January 2016 issue:
Nick in Arizona recently re-subscribed after an absence. He wrote:
There Was a Protest Unsubscribe after I ran the plug (below) for Get Out of Hell Free cards in Friday’s edition.
I had to get something off my chest. I’ve been seething about this for awhile, but a story this week brought it to a head. You probable saw it: it was the talk of social media last week. So let’s start with that, from True’s 20 September 2015 issue:
Some Readers Seem to Want to top recent examples of “Stupid Reasons for Protest Unsubscribes”. This one’s hilarious: in Friday’s free edition, having no paid advertisers, I ran a house ad for my drone site, Drone Pilot Wings. I haven’t been doing much in the way of articles on that site lately, but several that I have done really push for pilots being more responsible with drones, vs. doing stupid things like getting in the way of airplanes trying to fight wildfires. There’s even an article category called “Pilot Error” to highlight such stories. Of course, the tiny ad doesn’t get into all that, it just points interested readers to the site to learn more.
What Would You Include as significant milestones in the “history” of weird news?
Another politician, another hypocrite — this time, the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Missouri. Let’s start with the story, from the 17 May 2015 issue:
I Was Hoping to Write a different Honorary Unsubscribe this week, but couldn’t because I couldn’t get information. Debbie Crawford, a 25-year veteran paramedic in Denver, died this weekend. The scuttlebutt is that her PTSD got so severe, she committed suicide — she could no longer handle the stress of the job. If that is indeed what happened, and I don’t know for sure because none of the media outlets in Denver has covered her death at all, that’s truly a tragedy.
What’s more patronizing: making a joke at someone’s expense, or the contention that the subject of the joke is not capable of defending themselves?
This week it’s war veterans who are not capable, or so some readers seem to be saying. Let’s start with the story — from True’s 8 February 2015 issue: