The truth as we see it might be different from that of another person. If that is true, then how do we know what is factual? In media, we see careful concoctions of phrases that create ambiguity. At times, these are used to confuse readers; sometimes, they are just the symptoms of poor execution.
In the way contortionists will twist their bodies, some will try to twist their words to persuade an audience. For the purpose of entertainment, this is more than welcome. It might be expected. However, an audience will get wary of experiencing the same manipulative tricks. Words tend to be malleable with how they can be used.
A contortionist might hold a crowd for quite some time. However, this could be to the detriment to of the artist. I can’t imagine that warping one’s body for an extended period could be helpful in the long-term. In the same way that a content creator shouldn’t get used to distorting details. A playful distortion is understood as such; it is never mistaken for a fact. This is where lines are crossed.
In every way possible, we should avoid twisting words. Numbers are concrete values, but words have literal meanings and implicit meanings. Use them wisely. Carelessly throwing around words can be to your detriment. You won’t be using your audience’s time effectively as they will be left trying to understand what you are trying to say. Misrepresenting your work will disqualify you as credible in the eyes of an audience.
Understanding your audience doesn’t equate pandering to them. It helps you to understand how that might react to your work. You can use that to challenge yourself and your audience. Don’t be afraid to present information honestly. Genuine behavior will always attract more attention, not everyone can stand captivated by the twisted words of a contortionist. As for those who take pride in misleading headlines, they should get accustomed to the sound of crickets. People are intelligent beings and they understand cheap tricks. Obvious manipulations are especially frowned upon.
Clearly, you would think it is the norm to promote the truth. Careful omissions are just as deceptive. Taking bits and pieces to create a narrative can be harmful. If that is how media is to be produced, then it will cause a rift between audiences and the content meant for their consumption. For the media to thrive, it must be honest with itself and its audience.