Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fake news is their money maker!

“Some women regard cigarettes as symbols of freedom. … Smoking is a sublimination of oral eroticism; holding a cigarette in the mouth excites the oral zone. It is perfectly normal for woman to want to smoke cigarettes. Further the first women who smoked probably had an excess of masculine components and adopted the habit as a masculine act. But today the emancipation of woman has suppressed many of the feminine desires. More women now do the same work as men do. …Cigarettes, which are equated with men, become torches of freedom” (Stauber and Rampton 26).

     When I read that one of the topics for the blogs was Fake News I figured, great, that’s an easy topic but yesterday when I tried to write the blog, nothing that came out sounded good enough. I felt like I was being way too repetitive. I would say fake news is what sells and fake news is what people buy. But I know that I have heard that a million and one times and for readers, hearing it one more time, would not have that much of an influence on them. It would make me sound redundant and boring. So I figured, let me close Word and read Toxic Sludge is Good For You! Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton for a bit. Today, I stumbled upon the third chapter of the book called Smoker’s Hacks and that’s when I got the idea for this week’s blog.

     Before World War One, smoking cigarettes was seen as a masculine act but when the Roaring Twenties came around, tobacco companies used Public Relations to sell cigarettes to women. They suggested that smoking cigarettes would help women lose weight and of course women bought it and cigarette sales shot right up. The Lucky Strike brand came up with Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet with the help of Edward Bernays, a public relationer (Stauber and Rampton 25-26). Of course the main focus of Lucky Strike was to make a profit, and the women were interested in making themselves stand out. Women could smoke cigarettes too, not just men!

     The problem with this was when the health activists found the problems with cigarette smoking and tobacco, which dropped the consumption of cigarettes twenty-seven percent (Stauber and Rampton 31). This obviously also dropped the cigarette sales making tobacco companies not very happy.

     When the fake news and propaganda is figured out, do people stop believing? Cigarette smoking has not stopped today and in fact in my own family, several people have passed away as a result of their prior smoking habits. Situations like these just prove that fake news is what people buy because companies make it seem like what they are selling is in the best interest for the public. However, despite health issues and ethics, what they sell and promote is just for their own bank account.

Stauber, John, and Sheldon Rampton. Toxic Sludge is Good For You! Lies, Damn
Lies and the Public Relations Industry. 1st ed. Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995.

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