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Back to Gian Turci's Corner

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April 2007 -  Mass-mediacollaborators are working hard to convincethe public that what “public health” says on smoking is true, thus we are expected to thinkand behave accordingly. Thatform of cooperation is effective and it is everywhere.  It is also very sophisticated.

Here is aBritish Broadcasting Corporation video clip with all the main ingredients of public opinion conditioning.To tell the truth, I think that theonly interesting feature is Mr. Alexander Shoppmann, creator of Smintair,the smokers’ airline.  How the BBC presents the issue is worthexploring.  It shows how smokers and the rest of the public are prepped to accept that “smoking is no longer a socially acceptable behaviour”.  Light up a cigarette, inhale deeply, and watch the short video.

Alexander Shoppmann interviewed by BBC. Click on the imageto start the video.
(This file format may notstream to your computer. Please allow time for fulldownload before watching)

It isfair to say that this is quite a "moderate" reportage compared to theusual BBCantismoking standard rant. Clearly thebase message is that smoking bans are inevitable andeverywhere - so you better get used to them as no smoking must becomethe general social standard.  This is the future, so if you want to "fitin" why don't you quit, obey and conform"  Not me, thanks.  Iam actually having  some fun smoking under no smoking signs, hopingfor a ticket that I can use in court to fight the passive smoke fraud, butI never get one.  Nor do I get the "dirty looks" in spiteof the propaganda-proclaimed "consensus" against smoking. Nobody seems to be willing topick a fight with me - yet I am not a large man.  Go figure.

Back tothe issue, there is much more in this clip, however.  For example, a three-secondsound bite speaks volumes on the arrogance of petty non-smoker/antismokers: “I totally favour it [theban] because smoking is no good for you”.  Aside fromthe "no-good-for-you" superstition, this alone promotes the dangerous conceptthat it is “right” that something, which some believe is bad for you(without even being able to prove it), must be forbidden by lawto all.

Let's seewhat smokers have to say.  “I definitelydon’t like it [the ban] because I am a smoker”.  The way I (andprobably everyone else) interpret this statement is that if he were a non smoker he would like theban.  Put differently, the sole reason why most smokersoppose the ban is because they can't feed their "addiction" - otherwisethey would welcome prohibition as the"right" way to go!  The subliminal message, therefore, is: “brand this opinion as irrelevant and count it out”.  Another smoker makes a seemingly interesting point:  “I do not agree withthis because I think it’s a decision of every person if she or he wants tosmoke or not”.  Very true, but that can be easily beaten withthe"you-don’t-have-the-right-to-poison-me" sound bite, which has been hammeredin the heads of the grand public through mass-media and one-sided information.

Four people are interviewed in the airport in total, two smokers and twonon smokers – thus the appearance of fairness is preserved.  But the smokersare represented with a far weaker message.  Let me ask a rhetoricalquestion: why wasn't a non smoker who is opposed to the ban shown"  Thereare a lot of them around.  Answer: they did not look for them.  Through the years, I was interviewed on-the-fly byseveral mass-media for short sound bites and Ialways stated: "The dangers of passive smoke are false, and I worryabout the institutional problem". That was always edited out.  If youDON'T want to appear on mass-media, speak the uncomfortable truth onsmoking and I guarantee the result will end up on the cutting floor.

Thedevastating impact of smoking bans on travel and hospitality industry isrepresented with the opposite: “[the smoking ban in New York] created alot of jobs, it created 10,000 new jobs… and one of the reasons theysay is that people are going out more to eat".  Clearly, smokersare not people - especially when they smoke.  Two realities areconveniently ignored: 1) That free choice on smoking policies would stillallow those who don’t like smoke to have a non smoking environment, and 2)The documented and universal business devastation caused by smoking bans.But what are bankruptcies next to "public health" junk science"  The usedcar salesman trick works all the time: speak of the assets but hide theliabilities, people are so gullible!

Whatcould be in the mind of a smoker travelling under ban"  Personalliberties"  Concerns about the endemic institutional corruption pushing false information for the mercantile benefit oftheir pharmaceutical industry"  Perhaps the scam onsmoking, setting scary social and jurisprudential precedents for otherissues, such as food and alcohol to say nothing of the global warminghysteria that is about to knock out western economies"

Parbleu! Certainly not – a smoker does not worry about such things!  Instead herecomes the elegant, vane-looking and kind-of jet-set lady who (afterrushing to say that she supported restrictions on  smoking “to adegree” - important for “credibility”), fears that she is going to be confined toher home (wrong, madam, “they” are working on that too).  Buteven that is a minor, incidental issue.  The real problem isthat “I am very worried about the future ofmy cruising!”

BBC'sinsult to public intelligence needs no more description.

The coreof every ban - passive smoking - is dealt with a straightforward falseinformation: “While there MAY be those who argue that the dangers ofpassive smoking are exaggerated [token concession], theoverwhelming scientific consensus is that its impact on health can beconsiderable [intended message]”.  As we know, the studies notonly are junk, but they say - unquestionably - that there is no way todetermine whether passive smoking is a risk for health.  Those who “mayargue" actually don't say that the dangers are exaggerated.  They denounceserious crimes actionable through criminal codes - public fraud and falseadvertisement, for example. But that is certainly not something that BBCis going to tell you.  A dossier on any British political figure accusedof a fraud that is half as documented as that of passive smoke would makeBBC's prime time.  But a fraud for your health is a "good fraud", so yougo along with it.

Mr.Shoppmann, quite adamant on the passive smoke issue, does not seem tosay anything about it.  He just says that “smokers are people”.  Butpeople who harm other people are bad people… Don’t you agree"...  Knowing Alexander I can imagine how hard the show cutters musthave worked during the montage of this clip.

Lighttones, smiling faces and elevator music are the background. Theconsequence of the most serious fraud in history is presented as some sortof mundane happening, almost as if it was the latest fashion show with acentral attraction: the "eccentric" Mr. Shoppmann.  Perhaps hiseccentricity is not his beautiful thick hair but the fact that he goes asfar as saying that smokers are people without saying that they are "sick"first.  And he even offers an airline where passengers are not treatedlike cattle -- to the point that they can even smoke.  In these "healthconscious" times that is strange indeed, don't you think" Shoppmann mustbe really out of his mind.

-- GianTurci
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