The sad truth about the news

Day4, a Swedish production company specializing in motion graphics and video for web, motion picture, television, and corporate films has reminded us how vulnerable we are to receiving misinformation through the media.

Day 4 recently posted an image of a non-functional screw with the text “A friend took a photo a while ago at that fruit company, they are obviously even creating their own screws “. Less than 12 hours later, other websites, and soon the mainstream media, were carrying stories that Apple had designed the special screw so as to ensure that people could not open their Apple devices. Clearly many Apple device owners who like to tinker with their electronic products were outraged.

We tell this story not to glorify the Swedish production company nor to demonize the media but to show how easy it is to scam the press. GallonDaily and its partner Gallon Environment Letter staff regularly see environmental news articles that contain simple errors of fact. Many of the environmental reports that one sees on the internet, on television, and in print are at best a distortion and in some cases just plain wrong. Sometimes the misinformation is deliberate; most times it is because the author of the story has no expertise in the topics being written about.

What does this mean for sustainable business:

  • companies should monitor the media continuously and be prepared to respond quickly and decisively when inaccurate stories appear regarding their products or brands.
  • businesses should proactively communicate with the public so as to reduce the risk of inaccurate stories appearing.
  • business should never quote the media as a source of reliable information about anything. Unless our story is actually about the media, GallonDaily always goes to original sources, preferably peer-reviewed sources, for the information which we publish. It may still be wrong but at least it is authoritative! If we see a company quoting a media story as substantiation of claims for its products, it immediately inclines us to think that the company does not base its product claims on science-based research.
  • organizations making product or process claims should always have them confirmed by a third-party. Third-party confirmation or verification may not be perfect but at least it serves to improve the credibility of the claim when it comes to marketing of the product or corporate activity. The third-party may also offer useful independent advice on how the claim will be received in the marketplace.

For more information about how Day4 deliberately scammed the media visit http://day4.se/how-we-screwed-almost-the-whole-apple-community/

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