Some media outlets are placing too much emphasis on the contents of a single photo to draw some pretty broad conclusions. You’ve seen them come up in the news before: some politician shaking hands with a war criminal, a boob grab or ill-advised Halloween costume. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but there is often more to the story. 

As an example: I was in a commercial once, which I am pretty sure makes me famous. I’ll be selling autographs all week. 

Here’s the thing though — I didn’t want to be in it, despite the forms I signed saying I did. 

At the time I was working my very first job out of college. It was 2011 and no one was hiring, so I considered myself lucky and immediately took the job. I was hired to make brochures and marketing messages for a “health and wellness” center. They had chiropractors, massage therapist, but also pushed some really hokey stuff like a sticker that was meant to protect your brain from cell phone signals. 

There was a metal sensor you could put your hand on and a computer would tell you which of our herbal supplements you should buy to alleviate your “stressors.” The device has been proven to be a scam, yet my job was to market it. 

I was advised we weren’t allowed to call any of our processes “Treatments” or we could find ourselves in a lawsuit. They sold water that was supposed to make our bodies less acidic and I was taught a way to trick litmus paper into showing so. 

Needless to say, there were a lot of red flags showing up and I was looking for my opportunity to bolt. 

Two weeks into my employment, I was told we were making a commercial. For the commercial, they wanted a group photo of all the employees and wanted me to demonstrate some of the “procedures.” 

Despite my protests and a brief argument with the boss, I signed the paper anyway. I hadn’t received my first paycheck yet and something about this company made me think I might not ever get it if I didn’t sign. 

A few days later I quit. Still, somewhere out there is a video of me, administering “non-treatments” and licking litmus paper because I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t. 

A single picture or video doesn’t tell the whole story. We all need context.

Be wary of one-sentence slogans or brief arguments that strip context away from important issues. Rarely is anything so simple. 

Kirsten Faurie is the editor of the Kanabec County Times. She can be contacted at editor@moraminn.com or by calling 320-225-5128. 

 

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