On Friday I was perusing The Guardian’s news site, when I was forced to do a double-take over one of their headlines:
Man left brain dead and five critically ill in Cannabis drug trial*
This headline stood out from all the rest for two reasons. Firstly, it seemed incredibly inflammatory for The Guardian, and upon reading the story, which was seriously lacking in any supporting evidence of any kind, read to me like a red-top scoop, it’s function engineered to enrage those who habitually scan shocking headlines, forgo the real meat of the story, and then spread their new found ‘knowledge’ all over social media. Another term for this phenomena is propaganda.
I was disappointed in The Guardian. It’s the only news outlet I regularly refer to, as I like to think they have greater editorial integrity than to run with shocking sound bites which serve no discernible function other than to make ignorant people angry. It would appear that I was wrong.
The second reason this story piqued my interest was my further disappointment in the pharmaceutical industry. Cannabis does not kill people. Meddling with nature and the sheer unbridled vanity of presuming that a human being can improve on an already perfect design does.
Why do we feel the need to take these gifts from God and manipulate them until they bare no resemblance to anything that can truly heal? Why do we have to make things stronger, take something divine and turn it into a nice, neat, sterile little pill? It’s already perfect the way it is. But there’s no money to be made from something one cannot slap a patent on, and that’s the sad truth of it.
So, today I sat down ready to write about my disillusionment with The Guardian, but when I went to their website looking for the story, I discovered that it had been changed to this. Retrospectively.
In its place is a much more reasonable piece of editorial. The headline has no mention of Cannabis in it. That’s why there’s an asterisk after my headline above – I can’t verify if it’s verbatim, because it doesn’t exist anymore.
The date and time stamp on the story are completely unchanged, so it appears to the reader that this was the original story they ran with. I know this not to be the case. They have also removed all trace of the original story from all of their social media. It’s as if it never happened.
This really gets my goat. If you got it wrong, say you got it wrong, and openly correct your mistakes. Don’t covertly change your story, because people like me have good memories and it destroys any credibility you have in our minds.
So, my blog – which was originally going to correct some misinformation about Cannabis and berate my (then) favourite news media for encouraging inflammatory propaganda – has now become a reminder to you all that you can’t trust the media – even the nice, fluffy, lefty media. They are all the same beast.