Advertising, as we’ve always said, has always been pretty much pure slant. In fact, we’re
becoming hardened in this view. We’re now willing to tell students that, if a person has a stake in
an issue (e.g., if it’s a product the person is selling), then they definitely should not be counted on
to give an unbiased view of it in comparison to competing products. They may be as sincere as a
martyr, but they are still likely to give a different view from one developed by a neutral party.
There may be the occasional exception to this, but it’s wise not to presume you’re talking to one.
Finally, we have to point out a surprising (to us) development. In this chapter we mention
aromatherapy as something we’re pretty skeptical about, at least as far as its ability to provide
remedies for medical problems. Fortunately, we also said that one has to keep an open mind
about such things, as long as the evidence doesn’t indicate otherwise. As it turns out, after the
main text had already gone to press, we discovered an account in Consumer Reports, a magazine
in which we have some confidence, that sniffing various scents can have salubrious effects:
weight loss, overcoming anxiety, and sexual arousal seem to be affected positively by various
scents. Live, as they say, and learn.
Answers to Text Exercises
1. Bad lighting, noise, the speed at which events take place, bad weather
2. Being tired, distracted, emotionally upset
3. Credibility of the claim's content and of its source
4. Our own observations our background knowledge
5. Our own firsthand observations
6. Our memory
▲Something like number 9 is probably true, given the huge, almost unimaginable difference in
wealth between the richest and the poorest people on the planet, but we have no idea what the
actual numbers are. We’ve seen number 12 going around the web, but we don’t know whether
there’s anything to it, and we’re not interested in conducting the appropriate experiments. Click
and Clack, the car guys on "Car Talk" on NPR, have said there might be something to this, under
just the right circumstances. They won't try it either.
We think the rest of these items don’t have
much of a chance.