A recent article by Carl Phillips triggered my delighted memory of a broadcast personality’s reaction to A Billion Lives after the New Zealand Premiere. Broadcast personality Polly Gillespie had this snippet of conversation with Aaron Biebert on her show Polly’s Unauthorized Truths:
Aaron: “We’ve done our homework, we’ve talked to some of the top doctors in the entire world, you know in the movie we have the former director of the World Health Organization, and the former president of the World Medical Association. These are not random doctors, these are the top doctors in the world. And we have the truth coming right from them, as well as a bunch of, well, most of the people in our movie are doctors.”
Polly: “But, you know, Aaron, as a broadcaster and somebody that [works] in the media, I really am annoyed, I am very annoyed, that I have been duped by publicists, and by media companies who send me stories about vaping killing teenagers and exploding on planes, I’m annoyed that they have done that to me, I feel very irritated by that.”
You should hear her voice when she says that….she’s VERY annoyed!
So, how can we help the Polly Gillespies of the world avoid getting duped?
Carl Phillips said a couple of things that mirror some thoughts I’ve had for a couple of years, but have not been able to generate action on. I think Polly has opened the door to trying again.
Carl says (on pages 32-36):
There are a lot of social media retorts but few carefully crafted letters to media outlets or politicians who make anti-consumer claims. Organized anti-tobacco interests, by contrast, send out their boilerplate replies systematically.
The most organized consumer advocacy group, the smokers’ rights group Forest, offers a useful contrast. Forest is a constant proactive voice and thereby established itself as a go-to source on tobacco consumption issues in the U.K and Ireland………A Key difference between Forest and other consumer groups is that it receives adequate funding from industry to function as an organized interest.
Well, we all know that currently vape advocacy funding is correctly focused on judicial and legislative action to change the predicate date. But might there be a way for consumers’ people-power to replace some of the funding that would be needed to run press-release operations?
I see that AVA has been doing some very nice press releases. But it will take an order of magnitude more to get through. It’s like the story of how to get a donkey to listen: first you have to hit him on the head with a 2×4.
Is there a way for consumers to donate a little money and a lot of labor to make it possible for every single possible news item on our side to get a press release to all outlets?
Of course, many will be ignored (that’s standard) but they’ll at least be seen by whoever does the ignoring, just like other press releases, even from our enemies.
And perhaps after awhile some will not be ignored.
Or perhaps some of the more-talented consumers could be authorized to try to write releases which the big organizations would only have to edit? There are some really great guidelines online if you surf for DIY press releases.
So… who “signs” the release? If it’s a story on stores, maybe an industry association? If it’s a story on overall industry impact, maybe AVA? If it’s a story on health or other consumer issues, maybe CASAA? Or one of the science sites?
And how do releases get out? Again, lots of helper sites online, but they appear to offer only online distribution, which is the opposite of what we need. Or could vapers find contact info for press releases for local outlets and contribute them to a database that each industry group could copy anytime they want an update?
Maybe (well, probably…) none of this is “how it works.” But as long as the media is asleep at the wheel, our position is very weak. IMO we have to do SOMETHING.
How do we sound the reveille?
Vaping and Science
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