Everyone hates being lied to. There once was a time when television commercials were lies. No, I am not talking about cigarette commercials promoted by lab-coat-wearing doctors. I am talking about the famous Listerine commercials that used to tell everyone that gargling with Listerine could shorten the duration of a common cold or flu or relieve its symptoms. I can remember gargling with Listerine as a little kid and I figured it must be true because the stuff tasted like medicine. It turns out it was all a lie. I vaguely remember the government stepped in and there was something called “Truth In Advertising” which forced the company that makes Listerine to actually advertise that it could not help sick people.
What followed were commercials that, (briefly as as an almost subtext) casually and quickly mentioned that Listerine did not have these medical abilities as part of their campaign to focus on the fact that Listerine killed bad breath.
This was the genesis, I believe, of the commercials we see on television today that advertise medications. I am sure you know what I mean. It is almost comical how they list all the side effects and one has to wonder if the medication is worth it.
My first point is that, in the culture of today, people expect our media to tell us the truth and we resent being lied to.
My second point is that this transfers, unexpectedly perhaps, to our online social media. The internet has evolved. In the early days of the internet, only a few people made web content. Today, anyone can make web content. But people who post opinions and praise for their beliefs are doing something else unexpectedly. They are pitchmen for their personal ideology. If these people have the right to express falsehoods as deeply and compassionately held ideas, I too have the right to counter them. Without intention, perhaps, they are misleading people. They are performing the act of an advertiser. And just as the people who made Listerine did not have the right to lie to people, so to do people who present supposition and dogma as facts do not have the right to send the next generation down the wrong road.
Social media like Facebook is fun for posting photos of your puppies and kittens. But it is not the place to make your case on social issues that can change the course of history. Important comments are drowned out and replaced by more current and less important posts. Changing the world is what blogs and forums are for. Here, if you make your case, your comments will not be deleted. Plus, it will be accessible for the entire internet and not just a handful of facebook users.
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