Lying Media Bastards

May 10, 2005

Run Over by the Money Train

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Don’t remember when or how I found the article “False Alarm”, but you’ve gotta go read it.

I’ve often said that reading the book Toxic Sludge Is Good for You is absolutely mandatory for understanding American life and politics. It is a long and damning account of the massive power of the PR industry, and absolutely sickening depths they will go to to spread their lies.

“False Alarm” is like Toxic Sludge in miniature; it is a small study of PR sleaze used to convince Americans that frivolous lawsuits are ruining the country. We’ve all been taught to laugh at these jokes, to believe that Americans will sue anyone for anything, and that it’s getting worse. The truth is that the total number of tort lawsuits has actually decreased by 8% since 1975, that about 75% of the plaintiffs lose their case, and that the average settlement when a plaintiff wins is about $37,000.

But instead of this fairly clear understanding, 50 years’ worth of corporate propaganda have helped convince us that we’re a nation suing for millions because we cut ourselves shaving or we fell while burglarizing someone else’s home. It turns out that many of these stories we hear were made up, or hyped beyond recognition when a PR ass finds a particularly juicy one (climaxing in the spinning of the McDonald’s coffee scalding case, the misunderstanding of which is one of my pet peeves). Hell, it turns out that 60% of all these lawsuits are minor traffic accidents where one guy wants the other guy to pay for the damage to his car.

I don’t post this to inform you about corporate scheming or the realities of American law. This is about the power of the PR industry. It’s dangerous and it’s evil. Let’s be careful out there.

Posted by Jake on May 10, 2005 8:43 pm

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