Smoke, Lies and E-Cigs
There have been a vast number of anti-vaping articles published in recent months, as ecig use continues to grow in popularity amongst those seeking a less harmful alternative to traditional smoking. In November there were a slew of "news" articles, appearing all at once across a multitude of publishers, claiming that the vaping industry had peaked, and that "research has shown" that former-smokers-turned-vapers were putting down their e-cigs and firing up their tar sticks by the pack load. Being in the vaping industry, witnessing the continual growth in numbers of vapers, vape shops, e-cigs, and e-liquid sales, it was apparent that this sudden reporting by a multitude of media outlets on the "downturn" of vaping was untruthful, and likely a stop-loss propaganda campaign engineered by "Big Tobacco."
An article appearing in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Jan. 28, by staff-writer Tripp Mickle, and picked up by numerous financial publications, tells a much different story than those appearing over the holiday season. Mr. Mickle’s article reports that Altria Group (Philip Morris), the maker of cigarette brand Marlboro, plans to eliminate an untold number of jobs, in hopes that their downsizing will save the company $300 million dollars a year. With 4th quarter earnings that missed Wall Street expectations, rising prices and declining cigarette-shipment volume, the cost-cutting activities will enable the smoking goliath to continue plans to "invest in 'reduced harm products' such as electronic cigarettes."
So, here's the $25,000 question: would a global giant like Altria, dedicated to maximizing shareholder return and growing revenues, lay off workers to save cash, only to turn around and invest it in electronic cigarettes if vaping had been a fad, and was on the way out? We think not.
If you think the news is unbiased, and only reports the facts, you're not alone in being misled. It’s exactly what they want us to believe. The media is in the business of making money. The more people that view, listen to, read their station, website or publication, the more advertising dollars they can command, and the more power they yield. The more controversial the story is, the bigger the audience is going to be.
One red flag that should send your propaganda alarm screeching, is when you read nearly identical articles in a number of publications. Publishers and broadcasters buy ready-written articles that they can essentially plug in to their website, newspaper, or have read by their media personality. Check out this article from media watchdog group FAIR, discussing media bias, spin and misinformation.
The next time the big story breaks, ask yourself: “what business/entity/special interest group is behind this; who will this news benefit?” Try Googling the headline, and see how many, nearly identical articles you can find. You might just be surprised!
See the referenced article as published in MarketWatch here: Altria Group to lay off workers in cost-cutting