February 19, 2012
Posted by Bill Herman
[An email I just sent to WNYC:]
I am a sustaining WNYC member who is sick, sick, sick of hearing the currently running promo for The Takeaway. It contains the patently untrue assertion that the Obama administration’s new birth control mandate would cover abortion-causing medication. This is patently untrue. The mandate would cover the morning-after pill, which IS NOT an abortion pill. See:
That the show would accept a guest who will propagate this deliberate lie is objectionable enough; that the station is continually airing this claim as the show’s promo is shameful.
Those who work for the media have an ethical, professional obligation NOT to repeat lies, half-truths, and misleading information. The repetition of a claim, true or false, makes the information seem more true over time for audiences. This is true even when the claims are presented as false! See, e.g.:
Your station is better than this. The Takeaway is better than this. Be good journalists and good citizens, and pull this ad ASAP.
[Didn't want to bog down the email, but here's what I think is a better and more foundational citation for the "repetition creates truthiness" results:
Repetition and Rated Truth Value of Statements
The American Journal of Psychology
Vol. 95, No. 3 (Autumn, 1982), pp. 393-407]