Seldes, “The Suppressed Tobacco Story”

In his article, “The Suppressed Tobacco Story” from In Fact, January 13, 1941, George Seldes maintains a constant tone of objectivity and credibility by providing the reader with a series of linked statistics having to do with the effects of tobacco use. He sets the reader up with a method that is relatively straight forwards, citing the origin of facts and statistics as the biology department at Johns Hopkins University. The lede that Seldes uses is not stylized narrative or a creative approach typically used to entice the reader into reading the rest of the article, but rather confronts the reader with cold hard facts right from the start, conveying a message of seriousness about the implications the information he is sharing.
By displaying a series of charts and quantitative information about excess death rates, the difference in percentages when comparing alcohol and tobacco, as well as other scientific evidence, Seldes is able to maintain a degree of ultimate honesty in his writing. The fact that he incorporates so many tables and numerical comparisons allows for the readers to draw their own conclusions based upon the seemingly unbiased information in front of them. By basing his article strictly on the different statistics and facts, Seldes is able to accomplish independence of mind. He doesn’t use a lot of excess language to fluff up the information he is displaying in an attempt to represent his viewpoint in a particular setting or light, but rather allows for the recorded data to stand on its own. In turn, this lack of linguistic fluff is what makes this article an effect tool for reporting the news of the suppressed tobacco story.

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