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Month: February 2016

The most spectacular example of social media propaganda – so far!

The most spectacular example of social media propaganda – so far!

TL; DR Summary This poster is designed to lead you to the conclusion someone died because Republicans fund wars rather than highway infrastructure. But your conclusion, based on the provided evidence trail, is not just wrong but spectacularly wrong when you see the full set of evidence. This poster was shared over 25,000 times within 24 hours of appearing on Facebook, making it one of the most effective propaganda posters I have seen. This poster is elegant in its design,…

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A lie told online travels the world in milliseconds – is Cruz a Koch puppet?

A lie told online travels the world in milliseconds – is Cruz a Koch puppet?

TL;DR Summary Sen. Ted Cruz was bribed by the Koch brothers and is their puppet in the Senate. Politifact rates this a “pants on fire” lie. Relies on a false assertion to link the target’s presumed dislike of the Koch brothers as a reason to dislike Ted Cruz. In other words, the propaganda method of “transference”. At the time I collected this item, it had been shared over 94,000 times on Facebook.

Transferring dislike for one on to another using a false quote

Transferring dislike for one on to another using a false quote

TL;DR Summary Poster suggests that Hillary Clinton is advocating the same policies as Adolf Hitler by pairing up alleged quotes from both. There is no evidence that Clinton said this. The quote comes from a book whose author admits he made up quotes. The goal is to transfer one’s dislike for Hitler to Clinton via logical fallacy.

Rubio outsources campaign ad to Canada

Rubio outsources campaign ad to Canada

Just as Trump ran an ad featuring Nazi soldiers, Rubio has now run a TV ad shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, which is, surprisingly to some, outside the United States: Actually, it’s “morning again” in the Vancouver harbor. Source: Marco Rubio’s ‘Morning Again in America’ ad opens with a Canadian skyline – The Washington Post Ted Cruz of course, was until recently, both a Canadian and U.S. citizen. The ad might have been more appropriate for Cruz. Rubio seems to…

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Context matters – poster from unions4workers deleted a key word to tell a lie

Context matters – poster from unions4workers deleted a key word to tell a lie

TL;DR Summary The poster conveys that James Madison believed in 1817 that business corporations are inherently evil regarding accumulation of property. The person who created this poster left out one word: “in perpetuity by [ecclesiastical] corporations” which completely changes the meaning. The quote is contained in a paragraph about the power of religious bodies, in a document that is entirely about “Ecclesiastical Bodies” (Churches). Unions4Workers is telling an outright lie.

The reality was bad enough, so why lie to make a propaganda poster?

The reality was bad enough, so why lie to make a propaganda poster?

TL;DR Summary This an odd one. This poster about former Republican Presidential candidate Scott Walker asserts 2 untrue facts and 1 true fact. This is odd because the truthful backstory is not so great, so why use lies to get the point across? Once caught, it makes the propagandist look rather bad.  

Pre-propaganda – not all propaganda messaging comes with a “to do” list

Pre-propaganda – not all propaganda messaging comes with a “to do” list

TL;RD Summary A positive message, albeit, a “feel good” glittering generality. The message is honest . The design of the poster could be better by suggesting some action to be taken but in some ways, this might be viewed as “pre-propaganda”  which is messaging that preps the target for later propaganda that calls for action. The poster was on FB and came from BlueNationReview.com.  It uses the methods of “testimonial”, “appeal to authority”, “celebrity endorsement” and a “glittering generality”. The…

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How pro sports uses the national anthem for promotional propaganda

How pro sports uses the national anthem for promotional propaganda

TL;DR Summary Why do we play the national anthem at sports events? Why do we have the emotional re-uniting of families with a service member returned from overseas at sports events? These seemingly spontaneous events of joy and patriotism are often paid endorsements from the marketing budget of the the US Department of Defense. In the case of the Superbowl, the symbolism is taken to an extreme to link pro sports with patriotism, military and nationalist pride.

Rare use of data in an effective propaganda poster

Rare use of data in an effective propaganda poster

This is from Bill Gates. I have not vetted the content of the chart, but I assume it is true and correct. TL;DR Summary The point of this poster is to illustrate R&D spending on 3 categories: Defense, health and energy. It is effective in part due to its simplicity and use of  data. Data is not used often in propaganda posters because emotional appeals and pithy quotes are processed quickly by our System 1 thinking.

Abraham Lincoln’s false quote used to endorse political meme

Abraham Lincoln’s false quote used to endorse political meme

A common social media propaganda technique uses quotes from well known historical figures or celebrities to strengthen one’s argument. Not surprisingly, many of the quotes are fiction, some are attributed to the wrong person, and many are taken wildly out of context. TL;DR Summary This quote suggests  Abraham Lincoln had a prescient warning about corporations in America’s future. But he never said this. This is a made up quote. The goal, as propaganda, is to rely on the “Appeal to…

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Sanders shows how to tell a lie using only true statements

Sanders shows how to tell a lie using only true statements

TL; DR Summary Each sentence is true. But Sanders is intentionally making a straight up, outright lie when he talks about the changing share of corporate taxes. Politifact, the NY Times, the IRS, the Congressional Research Service, the Congressional Budget Office, Factcheck.org and the Center on Budget Priorities all recognize the problem with these statements. Can you spot the problem? Due to the creations of Subchapter S corporations after 1958, much – perhaps most – corporate income now flows through…

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Assertion: Students are wired in and tuned out

Assertion: Students are wired in and tuned out

TL;DR Summary Viral photo on social media purports to show that today’s youth are so “wired” they just sit and use their smart phones in a famous art museum. Viewers almost universally adopted that explanation. In reality, the students were likely using the Museum’s provided multimedia app to learn about the artwork. Indeed, a news reporter eventually contacted the students’ teacher and confirmed this. Read on to learn what the photographer who took this photo had to say …