Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Terror Alert Level has Been Raised to Peppermint


I realize I pick on the Today show quite a bit, but honestly, the thing is pretty much a four-hour cavalcade of rank stupidity.

This morning, if you made it past the fact that one of the lead stories on the show was a hard-hitting, two-and-a-half minute investigation into whether Britney Spears was reforming her image, and then past Meredith Viera cooing about how she'd been granted extra special access to Dick Cheney's home -- while keeping a straight face, mind you -- you eventually wound up being treated to a report that may have represented the final staggering triumph of hype over substance. The heavily promoted piece, fronted by the spritely Natalie Morales -- who may herself be nothing more than a CGI creation, the Jar Jar Binks of television news -- concerned the potential danger lurking in your medicine cabinet, compliments of Crest Pro Health mouthwash.

During the intro to the story, Morales put on her "concerned" face and enthused that as many as 91 million bottles of the mouthwash have been sold in the U.S. -- but that many of its users have begun taking to the internet to complain that the stuff is turning their teeth brown and altering their sense of taste. Roll tape, which featured about three minutes of one seemingly distraught customer after another -- all conspicuously members of Today's core demographic of 34-49 year old women -- lamenting their temporarily discolored choppers and demanding satisfaction. By the time Morales got around to an actual face-to-face with a doctor on the Procter & Gamble payroll, the audience was no doubt whipped into a frenzy of righteous indignation, ready to insist -- as the disgruntled customers had -- that Crest Pro Health come equipped with warning labels from here on out. That's when the story dropped the bombshell, or rather, the waterballoon: Morales sternly informed the doctor that she had literally a couple of dozen complaints that she'd pulled down off internet message boards from users of the mouthwash.

For those not good at math, let's recap: a couple of dozen complaints, out of 91 million bottles sold.

The report ended with, what else, word of a class action suit currently being filed against P&G -- a company worth millions -- by one of the pissed off customers who just happens to be a lawyer. Once again, for the obtuse: NBC essentially spent four minutes of national airtime not only lending credibility and import to the claims of these few unfortunate idiots, but putting up a big neon advertisement for any other opportunistic asshole who feels like joining the suit and getting rich by claiming victimization at the nefarious hands of an uncaring corporate giant. The Today show turned a non-story into a manufactured controversy -- the kind of thing you'd expect to find airing as a Shame-on-You piece on K-SHIT in Lubbock, Texas during sweeps -- and in doing so, probably conjured a monstrous lawsuit out of thin air and certainly perpetuated the cycle of absolute horseshit we've come to expect from today's TV news departments.

That's what should leave a bad taste in your mouth.

28 comments:

BV said...

Call me crazy, but shouldn't you just stop using a product if it starts to discolor you?

Sandisan said...

"K-SHIT in Lubbock, Texas"

Thanks for the giggle.

Don't ya just love manufactured controversies? This is probably one of the most egregious examples I've seen, though. "A couple dozen" people having a problem with a major brand name item isn't exactly news. Put that up there with Dubya's so-called "mandate" over Kerry in 2004.

heatherhansma said...

My dentist highly recommends Crest ProHealth. I have used it for awhile with no problems. I was shocked that The Today Show bothered to report on this without presenting any information as to HOW it could POSSIBLY stain teeth other than the claims of a 14-year old and some lady that kept looking at her tongue in the mirror...

slouchmonkey said...

0.00000026373% had a problem with the mouthwash. Not even half of...ah you get the point.

Straight from the pages of your pals book.

sparksinner said...

What the hell do you expect? This is nothing new. Do you watch every show all the way through? Because if you don't I swear you'll find a similarly bullshit 4 minutes every day.

And here's the best part: this will most likely increase sales of Crest Pro Health Care. Most of the dumb women watching this shitty show don't actually sit glued to the screen for 4 hours. Most come and go or pay light attention. So all those women just saw lots of product shots and probably got very little of the scary shit.

Way back in 1984, NBC/ABC/CBS did a story about Reagan and his proposal to slash funding for elderly care. Lots of shots or Reagan with old folks at old folks homes etc. Reagan's media people loved it. They got tons of calls from people saying they loved how much Reagan cared for old people.

Again, all the viewers got from the new story was the images of Reagan and the old folks.

b80vin said...

"K-SHIT in Lubbock, Texas", huh? Let's look at main stream media's records:

Alar
Repressed memory
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Silicone Breast Implants
Satanic Ritual Abuse
and their sister, Child Care Abuse Epidemics
Assisted Communication
Immunization link to Autism via mercury preservatives

All of these stories were, at one time or another, championed by main stream media news and had no basis in reality. It doesn't take a podunk television in the hill country of Texas to be as bad as "The Today Show". It just takes a desire for ratings, credulity and or no sense of public responsibility.

Oh, I should add that all these "stories" resulted in law suits and/or people being tried and jailed.

Anonymous said...

brilliant. can we get a "digg it?"

Stephen said...

I'd like to comment as both a prohealth user and an alumnus of KSHIT in San Antonio. On the latter point, I was actually suspended a day without pay for getting locked out of an office one night and not being able to forward the phone calls during the "dial for dollars" promotion during sweeps.....seriously.
On the former, if it's just a few dozen, can I get in on that class action suit? I love the product, but with that few plaintiffs that's like $50 MILLION per person, no?
I'll paint my teeth brown for that.

Hoda's the glue of those last 6 hours of Today.

Jubilant Echo was here said...

This is a very common and serious problem that includes more than mouth wash products and I am, for one, a little disappointed in you all. This same type of product incompatibility with many human orifices can explain away not only why your teeth will turn brown but also why a quarter-pounder turns your stool green; God knows that shit ain't normal.

Jennifer said...

As always, Chez, big thanks for the lunch time laugh. The Jar Jar Binks reference is priceless!

Deacon Blue said...

Threat Level Peppermint...damn, I should have added that as one of the threat levels in my Porn-Again Threat Assessment post last month.

I'm not sure whether your post is funny or depressing (maybe both), Chez, but thanks either way for the insight. I don't watch Today much these days. I guess I should be thankful.

Tod said...

Drinking too much water will probably stain your teeth brown...Hell, living will probably stain your teeth brown. The crack the plaintiffs are smoking will definitely stain your teeth brown!

Anonymous said...

So the families of those people killed in the infamous Tylenol/cyanide case over 20 decades ago had no right to sue because their dead relatives were to use your words "unfortunate idiots" who randomly picked up a bottle of Tylenol that had been laced with cyanide. Of course, going by your "thought process" said idiots should have had some sort of x-ray vision to enable them to discern which bottles were and weren't laced with cyanide.

And you continue to bleat and shriek about how "unfair and unjustified your firing by CNN was."

Right.

Erica Dee said...

This Crest BS is really old news how are they JUST getting to it. I poured my free bottle of the blue shit down the sink and recommended others to do so as well. Besides the fact that we all consume other things that tint our teeth brown including but not limited to soda, coffee, and cigarettes. A little gargle anyone?

Chez said...

Anonymous --

20 decades ago? Damn you've got a good memory.

And the fact that you actually equate dying with having your teeth turn brown for a few days says all I need to know about you.

Have a good one, and thanks for reading. : )

The Lil'est Naturist said...

Who is this Chez Pazienza and why is he so awesome!?

Hilarious post. =)

trish said...

Was Tylenol even around 20 decades ago?

b80vin said...

"So the families of those people killed in the infamous Tylenol/cyanide case over 20 decades ago had no right to sue because their dead relatives were to use your words "unfortunate idiots" who randomly picked up a bottle of Tylenol that had been laced with cyanide."

Oh the stupid...it hurts! First off, not to pile on but 200 years ago? Really? Secondly, it wasn't the fault of the manufacturers, so no they had no case. A woman, in an attempt to kill her husband, laced several bottle of Tylenol with cyanide and replaced them on the shelf. Her plan was to divert suspicion by being a victim. She was caught. Because of the main stream media's premature reaction to the scare thousands of dollars of tylenol were destroyed, everything in the world became harder to open and several important news stories were ignored (at that point the AIDs epidemic was in full swing, having killed 13,000 people mostly gay. The federal government spent tens of millions of dollars to insure the safety of packaging and not one cent on AIDS research. I believe the total death toll from the Tylenol plot was TWO).

Conceivably, once they are told the mouthwash causes a reaction many people will look for imperfections and find them, blaming the mouthwash in a media driven hysteria (see my list above for other examples). How do you even prove it was the mouthwash and not something else? It doesn't take a leap of logic to say these people put many things in their mouths.

Anonymous said...

"Of course, going by your "thought process" said idiots should have had some sort of x-ray vision to enable them to discern which bottles were and weren't laced with cyanide."

My best guess is that you are one of the people joining the class action lawsuit, you are trying to argue that your mouthwash was contaminated by P&G during manufacturing, and you have convinced yourself of your own righteousness by associating yourself with people who were poisoned. Am I right?

cadylee said...

I didn't realize there was a difference between the Today Show and K-SHIT in Lubbock, Texas.

Ally said...

Omg. I used to totally dig the Today Show when I was like 22, and before that it was CBS whatever-their-morning-show-is-called.

Since I've had kids, however, I haven't watched any of them, preferring either HNN or Jump Start on VH1 instead.

Matt Lauer just grosses me out with the burr/balding head thing. I mean, just go bald naturally. Don't add stubble, dude. Uck.

Anonymous said...

For the record, Lubbock, Texas is on the plains, not in the Hill Country (you're thinking Austin). I oughta know; I've lived here for 27 years. And we are known for some stupid shit, that's for sure.

Stephen said...

So 20 decades is like 10 Score, right? 8 Score?

octothorp said...

I used crest twice and figured out it was the reason everything tasted like orange juice and toothpaste. But, being a rational human, I ate the cost as a byproduct of trying new things. I'm guessing more than just the billionth of a percent of users had a problem -- but the billionth of a percent are the dumbass ones.

doctor robert ibach said...

Does anybody else see the pattern here?? 20 decades? 10 Score? r->p = Scope?! This whole story is obviously just part of a big intricate Microsoft-style conspiracy by another major mouthwash manufacturer to squeeze their competition out of the market and achieve global mouthwash dominance! =-O

JordanPowell said...

Last time I looked, coffee and tea labels don't display warnings about heavy usage staining teeth.

Oh crikey....I just gave the Today Show their next story idea...

Mr. Controversy said...

So...does this I'm vindicated in yelling at the television, "YOU'RE NOT NEWS, YOU'RE INFOTAINMENT!" when Good Morning America comes on?

Anonymous said...

Read Chuck Palaniuk's (sp.) book "Lullaby". A side plot involves a character named "Oyster" and wacky lawsuits.