On the perils of reading late and quickly; or, trumped up PR about YH

Late last night/early this morning I commented about Young Harmony. I read their latest “news’ release too quickly and assumed too much, and in the process I inadvertently proved why sexed up press releases work … because if crafted a certain way and read with one eye shut they can suggest a version of events that the unobservant or inattentive reader will essentially fabricate from the suggestive leanings of the writing. This is what happened with me and the Young Harmony release. NO WHERE (as harsh but helpful reader BC pointed out to me) does the press release say YH sang at the inaugural. Just that they were there. And finagling access to one of the numerous around-town parties (as opposed to the invitation-only affairs) is not difficult (i.e. just about anyone can do it). So YH simply went to the inaugural and put out a press release implying that their presence there was somehow another feather in their musical cap … an endorsement from the president, or it least it could be, as the release says: “The name Young Harmony is quickly becoming recognizable amongst fans of Christian music. Whether it’s from the stage of the Ryman Auditorium or your television sets across the country. It could even be their recent invitation to join President George Bush and his wife Laura for the 2005 Inauguration Ceremony held in Washington DC.) Ah yes … it could be. Could also be that Johnathan and Ginger just showed up in D.C. and had Rick Hendrix put out a press release that lazy readers and dupes could misconstrue as a personal invitation from the president for YH to join him “and his wife Laura” at the inauguration. As BC cleverly put it, “it’s like saying Young Harmony received big news from Ed MacMahon” in the mail today. So mea culpa. This press release was full of the same hyperbolic claims that fill a thousand forgettable press releases, and the fact that, conditioned to expect nothing, I scanned over the crap, glommed onto a few names and made fortuitous associations is probably indeed all the less forgivable because it’s precisely what these kinds of “news” releases are designed to do. Next up: “Young Harmony goes to London … could be an endorsement from the Queen!”

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