Writing–An Honest Profession? by Christine Duncan

I know I have said this before, but I can’t help noticing how much is written to sell something.  I am not talking about advertisements, but articles in magazines, and on the internet appear to have one thing in common.  They want to persuade you to buy into something.

Sometimes the selling bias is evident: “The Five Top Skin Care Creams You Need,” or “Why a Kettlebell Will Help You Get Fit Faster.”  Sometimes the sales pitch is more subtle, “The Hyperloop, L.A. to San Francisco in half an hour.”

I prefer the out and out advertisements.  At least, I know they are trying to sell me something.  Whether the idea is light rail in my area or rapid transit trains ferrying people and goods across vast distances, when they are mentioning all the advantages and wonderful ecological benefits, I automatically love the ideas without taking the time to think, “Hey, wait a minute.  What about all the land that will require?  How will they get that?  And what if I can get from L.A. to San Francisco in 30 minutes?  How long will it take me to get from where ever they drop me off to where ever in the city I’m actually going?  And how much will all of that cost?”

And it’s not just transportation.  The articles can be as diverse as fashion ( you know you really need that outfit or pair of shoes) or health and nutrition (kelp has more vitamins than plain old lettuce)  or even a craft article (use natural wool for that luxurious feel.) There seem to be more and more agendas.

Labeling something an ad brings out our natural skepticism.  Putting it in an article and prettying it up is … dishonest.  I’m starting to feel that most of media is dishonest anymore.  Everything has an agenda.  And that makes the writer in me feel just a little sleazy.


2 responses to “Writing–An Honest Profession? by Christine Duncan

  1. So true, particularly the beauty and fitness blogs. It’s so much more insidious when they don’t own up to being paid to write something. You end up not trusting anyone!


  2. OK, well, my take on that is as follows (and I’m agreeing with you, as well) Every angle of every phase of every word coming out of almost any media outlet is going to have a bias toward selling something. Not only that, almost every aspect of human life in this country has that bias. If you removed everything that has a commercial slant, every means for millionaires making more dollars or spending fewer dollars, there’d be very little left–and that goes for government large and small, schools, hospitals, and on and on. It’s so insidious that we can hardly notice it half the time. You’ve put your finger on something that’s darn near invisible, it’s so commonplace. Everything there is, revolves in some way around money, and the science of separating us from our dollars is growing exponentially. Might be our only defense is raised awareness.

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