I have had it up to here with misleading press releases. I received a press release that read: “XYZ Wireless, one of the nation’s largest wireless broadband operators, has just launched service inÂ . . . ”
What do you conclude when you read the line “one of the nation’s largest wireless broadband operators”?
When I read that, I conclude that they have a large customer base. But since I have never heard of XYZ Wireless, I decided to ask them what they mean by “one of the largest”. It turns out they mean they cover an area of several thousand square miles, one of the largest areas of coverage for the kind of wireless service they offer.
Think about that for a minute. You could cover large swathes of the permafrost region and call yourself one of the largest wireless broadband operators in the world. But the people who write these breathless press releases know that if you say “one of the largest wireless operators in the world”, people will think you have one of the largest customer bases, which may not be true.
If they want to be accurate, they should write: “XYZ Wireless, a wireless broadband operator with one of the largest coverage areas in the nation . . .”
Unfortunately, the vast majority of press releases are written this way. Some are outright lies. They hope that the lazy press will simply copy their press releases. I don’t think I have to tell an adult who (I assume) is a native English speaker how to write a basic sentence in the English language.
So what is the problem with people who write these press releases? Do they need a remedial English writing course? Or are they (and their clients) just a bunch of liars?