A commercial enterprise recently inquired as to my interest in writing for them. And I confess that I DID have a bit of interest. It’s more ego-based than money-based but still, I could use an income supplement now and then. Scotch ain’t free. A new Rivian pick-up truck ain’t cheap. So, I replied with a tentative yes depending on what was needed. It seems what is needed is a formulaic 1000 words and the pay is pathetic. So, I declined.
But, in order for me to know this, the copy publisher sent me a few ‘typical articles’. And that was an eye-opener. Not only were all the so-called articles crafted within the same structure, they were not articles at all. They were all advertisements masquerading as ‘fact-based’ articles. One was titled, “The Top Five Projectors for 2019.”
Very oddly, the first article I read was clearly written by an ESL writer. I admire the effort but the content was grammatically abysmal. The content was just trite phrases and cliches. It was beyond shallow. It was empty. It was a hollow ‘nothing’ touting some stupid plastic+electronics product. It was barely a cut above spam. https://consumerguidehub.com/best-projector-under-500/
Like a noob, I always assumed that some ‘enthusiast’ who was ‘into’ videocams or vacuum cleaners or something was the writer and he or she could do that because they were given maybe ten or more items to test and put through their paces before writing a word. That is NOT the case. The instructions given to me were to find all the hype I needed on the advertisers websites, cut and copy it and then compile all that into an article. No product testing, using or even holding-in-my-hand was required. In fact, no knowledge of anything but plagiarism was required. It was 100% a theft of other’s words barely massaged into something quasi-original.
It was fake news.
Now, I tend to read voraciously. I like to learn. But I have just been exposed to the peripheral edges of the latest and ever-growing-larger fake news industry. Of course, we all know that advertisement copy is exaggerated at best and likely not true in oh-so-many ways. But bona fide advertisements usually have an obvious bias, the word advertisement at the top and then a bunch of logos and crap at the bottom to indicate the company doing the promotion. The reader usually KNOWS when they are reading an advertisement.
When you read an article from Consumer Reports, you are (at least I was) inclined to believe that they had tested those things and they were reporting their findings. And that still might be true for Consumer Reports. But, clearly, that model, that style, that genre of a so-called ‘news’ article is now being copied and repeated to create the impression of a critical, fact-based review of a product and that the writer has some expertise. And that impression is a lie.
I have a blog section above on products I pan or endorse as a result of some personal experience with it. I haven’t added much to it lately because I am doing so much less and even buying fewer tools and such. But everything written there is 100% true (from my perspective). None of it was written for personal gain. No one paid me. No one pays me commissions or anything.
So the point is this: lying has spread throughout our lives like the virus it is. It is everywhere. We all know advertising lies. We all know political lies. We all know spam and other forms of lies but, if you are like me, you think there is a ‘proper source’ for vetted, fact-based information and, unless it is obviously a biased marketing piece, it is as legitimate as can be found. I am now inclined to think otherwise. I now think most things written for even indirect commercial purposes are lies.
I am sure there is truth out there. But you really have to work to find it. I have just peeled back yet another layer of lies and it shows that the bastards are getting more sophisticated and devious in their dissembling.
More and more, less and less is true.