by Nick Taylor
Why are we debating the truth? It’s not debatable. Only a trust thief would ask us to do that.
At ConsumerMojo, we pride ourselves on finding the truth about consumer issues and reporting it, so that consumers can make choices that make sense for them. We work to root out and illustrate the insidious ways scammers warp and shade the truth – and often just deny it – to make you trust a lie. That’s when they’ve got you, ready to buy what bill of goods they’re selling. But scammers don’t stop at trying to steal your money. They also want to steal your trust in valid information.
Our founder Barbara Nevins Taylor spent a career in television news. She won I don’t know how many Emmys, which are awarded for a lot of things including good reporting. But she will tell you that her best work, and the stories she cared about the most, came when she found people being taken advantage of and had the chance to stop it.
Scammers come in all shapes and sizes, and work in all fields. ConsumerMojo concentrates mostly on financial scammers, like payday and auto title lenders whose business model depends on trapping borrowers in cycles of escalating debt and endless fees that they can’t pay. It exposes phishing scams that try to trick you into sharing your computer access or financial information online.
A trust thief debates the truth, works a flim-flam and uses language to fool you. They know the disruptions in today’s economy have left millions of Americans vulnerable to promises they’ve gotten too used to not hearing: Your jobs are coming back. You can support a family. Your children will have a better life. You’ll be able to retire.
Nobody likes bad news. Nobody likes feeling that things they had come to expect in life, things their parents and grandparents had built lives around, aren’t coming true for them. It’s time to get a loan, to borrow some promises that will make things feel right again, if only for a little while. The interest rate may be out the roof, the fees outrageous, but you need the hope that what you expected will come true.
And when news that contradicts those promises and questions the promisors – both their information and their motives — gets tagged as “fake,” that sounds good, too.
Free societies function on a free flow of information. Every democracy needs a press that tells the truth. When government tries to shape the truth, it serves itself and not the people. When government attacks the press so that people question what is true, again it serves itself and not the people.
Good reporting means finding the truth and telling it. That’s what we try to do here in our niche at ConsumerMojo. And we know to a certainty that the major news organizations in this country, the so-called mainstream media, do exactly the same thing across the board, and always have. We support them and oppose any effort to restrict journalists’ access to information that the people have a need and a right to know.