Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The "10-times-more-harmful-than-cigarettes-scare", copy-paste journalism and what made the difference in Norway

As most of you probably are aware of on Thursday last week media all over the world, including Norway, started reporting the 10-times-more-harmful-than-cigarettes-scare. I'm still seeing some of the slower ones running this story, as it's still turning up in my daily google news searches. The story was fed to the media by news agency AFP, and from there it got published uncritically all over the world, doing a lot of harm, and ultimately scared a lot of vapers back to smoking cigarettes. I think this is a good example on how the media of today has turned into nothing but a tool for people with an agenda and a couple of braincells to spread their message all over the world, without anyone questioning whether the information is true or not. The vast majority of so called journalism today apparently consist of just copy-pasting the most shocking news, as fast as you can, so your employer can sell their ads at the highest price possible. It doesn't really matter that much if the information is true or not, since as soon as your horror headline has been clicked, the ads are doing their job; generating income for the website owner.

It was today I saw there first story from a source outside Norway where they actually question this information: http://goo.gl/RZtcSj. Inquisitr finally seems to have found the statement posted by Farsalinos at ecigarette-research.com. About time I would say. It's quite interesting to read the comments below this article. Have a look at the link posted by Norbert Zillatron, connecting the Japanese scientists to the WHO: http://goo.gl/6Co9bw. Now read the first paragraph again and connect the dots.

There might be other media as well that I'm not aware of that are coming forth now, but here in Norway the media started reporting that the horror story from Thursday wasn't all true already on Friday morning. Some actually already on Thursday evening. I've been wondering this weekend why this happened here, and not everywhere else in the world.

I contacted Karl Erik Lund at SIRUS and asked him a bit about what happened as he was doing a great job in the media, explaining the true story. He says that a journalist working for nrk.no that was also about to publish the horror story called him to ask about it and when hearing Lunds points of view on the story decided to publish a whole different story, debunking the horror that other media had published during the day. The race of true journalists may not be totally extinct anyway, at least there is one here in Norway. However it is a bit worrying that she seems to be a bit alone, even in her own organization. The horror story was actually aired on national TV at about the same time as her debunking story was published on nrk.no. The story was aired 19.12 and the article published 19.23. This is the clip where the horror is presented on TV on Thursday evening (thanks Helge Andersen for putting this on youtube):


Translation:
"E-cigarettes contain 10 times as many carcinogenic substances as regular cigarettes. This is shown by a study conducted by the Japanese National Institute of Health. The World Health Organization advocates to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, and also showed that the vapor from these cigarettes are dangerous to fetuses and young children."


The next evening however they aired this "apology":
"In Dagsrevyen [Newsnight] yesterday we said that e-cigarettes contain 10 times as many carcinogenic substances as regular cigarettes with reference to a study conducted by the Japanese National Institute of Health. We emphasize that this result was only detected in only one of the cases that the Japanese scientists examined. The results in general showed that the level was lower in e-cigarettes than in tobacco."

Two people made a huge difference here in Norway, I believe ultimately saving lives: Kjersti Strømmen, a true journalist that actually did her job properly and Karl Erik Lund, who always speaks the voice of reason when this kind of madness comes along. Big thanks to both of them. I really really hope Strømmen will continue to dig a bit more around on the topic of e-cigarettes, and I hope (and I really believe he will) Lund will continue his efforts to get the truth about e-cigarettes out, to regulators, politicians and the general public. But Strømmen and Lund was not alone. I've been asking around a bit and a lot of people from the NDS (Norwegian Union of Vapers) Facebook group did a lot of commenting on articles and sending emails to journalists, using whatever contacts and means they had available. I think this combined effort was what made most newspapers publish "clarifying" articles the morning after, linking to Farsalinos and Lunds statements. The work of Lund, Strømmen and Farsalinos, of course, gave all the emails and comments the weight they needed to make the media turn around in this case.

AspireAtlantisFivepawns

12 comments :

  1. Nice write-up. Followers can learn more of the FACTS of these products, see the real research studies and see/hear direct from the EXPERTS themselves:
    http://e-researchfoundation.org/direct-from-the-experts/current-studies-2/
    http://e-researchfoundation.org/direct-from-the-experts/gfn-2014/
    http://e-researchfoundation.org/direct-from-the-experts/tma-2014/
    http://ecigarette-research.com/web/index.php
    http://www.clivebates.com/
    http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/
    http://rodutobaccotruth.blogspot.com/
    http://nicotinepolicy.net/

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