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Professional journalists are authoritative sources the public upholds to receive current and accurate information about a variety of topics. Unfortunately, that is not the case for some publications. “Faking It Sex Lies and Magazines,” by Liza Featherstone, uncovers the truth about racy magazines. Journalist admit that top magazines often heavily embellish articles about sex or completely make them up.
It is hard to believe that magazines can get away with actively lying to their readers who trust them as a reputable source. Some journalist do not even try to hide it. According to Featherstone, the executive editor of Elle magazine admitted “we lie about sex” and the panel did not deny it. Journalists are supposed to be the informers and recorders of our everyday world. When “many attribute the fibs to deadline pressure,” it is no excuse. In any profession it is not acceptable to take the easy way out. A journalist reporting about the spread of a particular disease can not simply make up a story about the who is infected or how they caught the disease. First of all it is morally wrong, it would ruin the publisher’s reputation and lastly the reader would not be properly informed. So this does not happen fact-checkers will review an article for inconsistencies to ensure the public is properly informed. However, Articles about sex are viewed as “not a priority” when fact-checking.
In Featherstone’s article, a fact-checker admitted that magazines often claim that sex can help you lose weight but that is not often the case. Women read these articles as a source of reliable information but publications let these stories go out for production based on that none of the articles claims “can be proved false.” Fitness magazines have research to support the diets and workouts they suggest, or else they would not be a trusted source. It is unjust to uphold journalists to different standards.
It was a little awkward trying to find relevant articles, but Cosmo and Marie Claire had examples of some of the issues brought up in the article. In the article “The Orgasm Deficit,” the writer Heather Wood Rudulph, started with an anecdote about a girl named Brittany who has only had one orgasm in her whole life. However, at the end of the article you find out that “Names have been changed,” which according to Featherstone’s article “can mean anything, including ‘Totally made up.’ ” After learning this, the reader should question the integrity of the whole article.
Further down the Cosmo article, Rudulph claims the FDA has approved 26 treatments for erectile dysfunction and has developed zero for women. However, there is one treatment approved by the FDA. According to WebMD, there is a device called Eros that helps increase blood flow to the genitals. The Cosmo article would of been correct if they said the FDA has not approved a sex enhancement drug for women. This incident was not an intentional lie created by Rulduph, but it shows that fact-checkers failed to acknowledge her poor word choice.
Even though it is immoral for a journalist to publish a mainstream sex article with false information, it must be an unfulfilling job. In Faking It, Cosmo editor, Chandra Czape, admits that really good journalist must get frustrated and it “cannot be the height of someone’s journalistic career.” For example, Lodro Rinzler is an author and meditation teacher, but when he is not writing books on buddhist meditation he is writing for Marie Claire about “Five Embarrassing Sex Stories” or “6 Ways You’ll Be the Best Sex He’s Ever Had.” Rinzler could be content with writing these articles, but it seems highly unlikely. Rinzler’s talents are degraded from a novel writer to a small entertainment sex colum. Even though the work may be unfulfilling for some, it doesn’t give them the excuse to misrepresent what they are writing about. Yet as a reader, learning about the journalist’s professional background does make you understand why these articles are taken a little less seriously.
In conclusion, Featherstone’s article revealed the truth about the sex section of magazines. Intentionally lying in any profession is unacceptable, and shouldn’t be tolerated.
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