Thursday, July 03, 2008

10-4 good buddy

gotta love AM talk radio

in the spirit of the previous post just published, here's a slightly different example of media laziness / distortion that i encountered just yesterday:

turned on , i think, 1560 AM, here in Houston on the way home yesterday and caught the radio guys marveling over the latest batch of Stella Awards, instances
of ridiculously frivolous lawsuits.

#1 was this:

Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, who purchased a new 32-foot
Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game,
having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph
and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to
make herself a sandwich.
"Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and
overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not
putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the
driver's seat while the cruise control was set.
"The Oklahoma jury awarded her - are you sitting down? - $1,750,000 plus
a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result
of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might
also buy a motor home."

of course, a quick search on the internet shows that and the other cases
mentioned to be completely made up:

completely made-up crap read as fact on public radio, which no doubt many people heard, much ire / indignation was raised, and many other people were told about it secondhand.

how do i know? because i was one of those people - i drove straight from work to the Astros game to meet my wife and told her about it. i was sensible enough to say that i hadn't checked out the veracity of what i'd heard but i didn't have the chance to do that until at work this morning; so any people sitting near us at the game might either A) have overheard and be (misleadingly) outraged, or B) know that the case was fiction and think me a moron.

of course there are stupid lawsuits out there filed by greedy lawyers and mouth-breathing "victims" looking to score some quick cash, otherwise we wouldn't have "Caution: do not use hair dryer in bathtub with water", "Caution: Do Not Drink Paint" warnings.

point is that people who spread information to the public (even if it is on measly AM radio) should at least have enough professional self-respect to do an internet search before they start reading as gospel truth some mass-forwarded email that popped up in their hotmail inbox.


Steven G. Harms said...

I might point out that Rush Limbaugh made his mark, initially, an WABC-AM, the gateway that led to a whole variety of people purple money dishwashering threats to OPERATION CHAOS ( which sounds like a bunch of white dudes on mid-life crisis Harleys menacing "long-hairs" and "hippies" ).

politicalmpressions said...

i've received an email detailing how neiman marcus mistakenly charged a woman $200 for their cookie recipe and refused to give her her money back, so she was spreading an email with the recipe.

a quick look on snopes indicated the story had been around since the 60's or 70's and just keeps going. and now, there's a bunch of crazy emails going around about Obama - my mom always tells me about them and i always go and fact-check and get back to her.

with the internet making fact-checking so easy, i have no idea why people don't do a quick google.

the inanity!!

The Social Bobcat said...

i've gotten a few of those emails from elder family members as well but i think they're on the snopes wagon (or other fact-checking)now, thankfully.

information in a highly communicative environment is a potentially dangerous, dangerous thing.