Accuracy in Media

I was driving home late last night from a meeting and heard an ad on the radio about killer tobacco. Now as a lifetime non-smoker I would be the last one to defend smoking in any way shape or form. However, the product is legal and since the tobacco companies can?t advertise their product they certainly don?t have the same opportunities as other companies to try and sell their products.

The ad repeated over and over again that the tobacco companies sell a product that results in the death of an individual every eight seconds. At the end of the ad the announcer stated that approximately four people had died during the course of the ad. (30 seconds).

There isn?t anything wrong with informing the public about the dangers of smoking, but the tactic used by the unidentified advertiser deserves some criticism. The purpose of the ad was to attack the tobacco companies, but the real target should have been the states that agreed to the master tobacco settlement but have failed to spend the money on smoking cessation and prevention programs.

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, which is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and no friend to conservatives keeps track of the money flow from the tobacco settlement. What their figures prove is that the states weren?t really interested in reducing smoking and the deaths that result, but as another source of money that they wound up largely spending on everything but anti-smoking programs. Ads like the one I heard really serve no useful purpose in my opinion.

They scare the public by not giving the full story or directing the outrage at the wrong target. What this boils down to is an infringement on the rights of American smokers to choose what they can and can?t do. Since smoking tobacco isn?t illegal, why pick on companies that make a legal product? Because like the oil companies they are politically incorrect and thus a large target.

So choose wisely and freely and don?t listen to those that seek to limit your freedom.

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