“But why aren’t you balanced? What about all the positive stories about incredibly rich (insert name here) MLMers?” In this post, we explain why ‘balance’ is bullshit when it comes to network marketing, and so is attempting to be unbiased.

We get it regularly.

However I do worry that it (Timeless Vie) doesn’t provide a balanced view; there are no positive stories.

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On the face of it, that seems a completely reasonable point.

That’s what proper journalists would do, right?

They’d have the sad story and then the happy story so you, the reader, got both sides of the issue.   And what would you think? You’d probably think there’s a 50% chance you could be wealthy in an MLM, and a 50% chance you’d fail.   Fair.  Balanced.

Except….acccording to this study, approximately 99% of people lose money.

If most people lose money, is it really fair and balanced to have 1 story for and 1 against?  Wouldn’t a really balanced piece of writing about MLMs have 99 stories of failure vs 1 story of success?  Wouldn’t that be more accurate?  And wouldn’t a really balanced piece point out that the 1 person who succeeded did so because of all the people that failed?

The idea of ‘false balance’ in journalism has been around for a while, but none of us connected the issue to the debate over MLM until one of us talked to a journalist in New Zealand.  He was interested in what we were doing, and the feminist stance we were taking, and he pointed out that ‘false balance’ could be a problem when it came to issues like MLM.   Read this, about the climate change science and false balance.

And this.

The idea is this: that by presenting both sides of a story and giving each equal weight, journalists inadvertently give people the impression that both sides are equally valid.   They aren’t.

On one side, we have an industry that is making lots and lots of money by selling women false hope, that allows reps to make false health claims, that says one thing in public and another in private (we have so much evidence of this at this point it’s not funny), that in some cases refuses to divulge how much money women will really make, and is largely ignored by government.     For ‘positive’ stories you only have to go to the websites of the Direct Sales Association, Arbonne, Younique etc.

On the other side, there’s us.  We are making exactly zero money from doing this.  We have jobs, families, we do this in what spare time we have.    We’ve researched.  We’ve talked to victims.  We really care about them.  We’ve tried to get answers from the DSA, MLM companies and government, and have discovered that there’s a huge information gap about what effects MLMs really have.

If we were to do positive stories, we’d be giving our readers the impression we think MLM is a valid business model, when all evidence we’ve found so far indicates it’s not.  Would that really be the right thing to do?

This is why we don’t do “balanced” stories about MLM.

Because what matters is the truth.

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