The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

I'd like to share a special offer that was courteously e-mailed to me:

"As seen on NBC, CBS, and CNN, and even Oprah! The health discovery that actually reverses aging while burning fat, without dieting or exercise! This proven discovery has even been reported on by the New England Journal of Medicine. Forget aging and dieting forever! And it's Guaranteed!"

I'm sure glad to know that this offer is Guaranteed, with a capital "G". I can find humor in a lot of things, even if there's a bittersweet edge to it. What I find most funny about this spam is the opening line.

Note how this miracle product has been seen on the major new networks: NBC, CBS, CNN (I guess ABC and others missed the boat?). But big deal. They may all be respected news operations that are on top of most fast breaking events and provide expert analysis, but hey, that's what they're supposed to do, right? What have you done for me lately?

No, what REALLY counts is that this thing has been seen "even on Oprah"! THAT'S where it really earns it's chops, because, as we all know, Oprah is the final word on whether something is the real down deal or not!

What's funniest of all is that this message really does have the desired effect by underlining the Oprah name-dropping. Sadly enough, there are legions of people out there who put more trust and credence in a recommendation from Oprah than a news media report. And yes, I know that television news is far from pristine, but come on. I don't think such attitudes have as much to do with any mistrust of traditional media as they do with suseptibility to the charms of infotainment. It's sad.