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Who do you trust the least?
Perhaps you shouldn't trust any too far.

By:David K. Every
©Copyright 1999

This comic certainly pissed off a few people. Seems that Lawyers and Reporters didn't like to be categorized with Drug Dealers.... and of course the drug dealers were even more insulted.

The problem is that reporters and lawyers are "self-policing" organizations -- and both have done a very poor job of living up to their obligations (and getting rid of those that are harming their industries). So while I realize that many reporters and lawyers are honorable people doing a needed service, and they have helped society -- the many bad ones are destroying the perception of those industries for the rest of them. As individuals I often respect them, as a group I am usually just annoyed at them.

All three groups seem to be out to protect their OWN interests, against the interests of society.

  • Lawyer organizations are usually against loser pays -- good for society, but bad for business (for lawyers). So they take the wrong side, and society loses. Lawyers want lots of complex laws with lots of loop-holes -- bad for society, bad for justice, but good for lawyers. How many lawyers groups have you heard of that are fighting for simplifying our laws or eliminating old bad ones? It just costs too much to fight another lawyer, and so most lawyers just look the other way, or ignore the issues.
  • Reporters (news media at large) only make excuses for their biases or bad reporting and do nothing to correct it. It is no longer about the truth or being unbiased, it is about following each other, and perpetuating their bias. Magazines and writers won't jump on the error (or down the other journals throats) out of "professional courtesy" -- and because they know that they make lots of errors too and they don't want to be held accountable. Individually the authors may be fair (and are allowed some bias) -- but when all the bias leans the same way, it is NOT fair and the media is NOT doing its job.

    For example: Wall Street Journal ran a front page article about how Apple's sales were down 10% over the year before and how Apple is doomed because of it -- Apple's stock drops 10% over the next few weeks (and sales were being hammered by misinformation in the media, like that article, as well as other things). Many others picked up the story, quoted the erroneous information, exaggerated it, added their own negative spins, and made it worse -- of course they didn't pick up the retraction. Apple complained and argued and showed that WSJ got their numbers BACKWARDS and Apple grew by that same amount (not lost) -- OOPS. WSJ runs a page 4 retraction, that says "Oops, numbers backwards, Apple gained 10% during the same time (not lost it) -- but Apple is still doomed and we stand by everything else in the article"... even after the whole premise of the article was destroyed.
  • Drug Dealers are against legalization of drugs. That would eliminate the high-prices, high-profits, and need for them. So while it may not be "good" for society, it would certainly be less bad than the organized crime, high crime rates, loss of human rights and freedoms and other negatives of prohibition. The point isn't that Everyone should be for legalization (just because it is rational) -- it is that Drug Dealers are going to look out for their best interests, whether it is bad for society or not.

So much of the criticism, for lawyer and reporters at least, is DESERVED criticism (not the "unfair criticism" that many claim). If the groups want to improve their image, they have got to fix their problems.

Right now bad reporters and bad lawyers have a vested interest (financial reward) for being bad. The more the reporter sensationalizes, the more readers he gets -- with little real chance of repercussions (other than a few nasty-grams/emails that the reporter will whine about and play martyr because of). Sensationalism sells, and truth is irrelevant. The more scummy a lawyer is, the more money he can make (just look at 95% of the class action suits or liability suits) -- and lawyers (as a group) have done little to enforce the spirit of the law, and instead reward themselves for being slick with the letter of the law. On the other hand Drug Dealers have to live by their reputations and are pure capitalists (1) -- so at least with them you know where they (you) stand. If they cheat people (lie), and don't do what they say, then they are punished with less income (because the streets are all based on reputation and word of mouth). At least the feedback loop is working the right way with drug-dealers.

(1) I don't do drugs (but I experimented as a kid) -- however, I have met quite a few drug dealers and drug users in my past. My wife does charity work to this day (with drug abusers and high risk parents). A room mate and I (years ago), housed a few different runaways or teenaged homeless (sequentially) as a way to give them opportunities (of course the govt. would have arrested us for our "non state-approved" assistance to these people, but that is a separate issue). I am very familiar with the underground culture (at least in certain areas).

So in my experiences with lawyers, drug dealers and reporters, I can honestly say that the drug dealers where the most sincere (as a group) of the bunch. I have felt far less cheated, lied to, or used by them, as compared to the others. So while I don't think that all individuals, of any group, fit into their stereotype -- based on personal experience (and stereotypes) I do seriously question which group I trust the most (2).

(2) Remember though, groups are NOT individuals -- I do trust some reporters and lawyers (and certainly not too many drug-dealers).

At least people know to be cautious when entering arrangements with drug dealers. It seems like as big a mistake to forget that with reporters and lawyers. All of them (usually) have only their own best interests at heart.

I don't expect people to all agree with my views (political or philosophical) -- and certainly not to the same degrees as I do. I am just pointing out some views that should make people think a little, even if they don't agree.

Before we get too critical of ONLY these groups, we should also look at our own industries as well, and what we can do to improve them. (This whole site is part of my efforts to improve mine).

Created: 11/01/97
Updated: 11/09/02

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