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Month: February 2016

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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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 …

Emotional Appeal: This dog did not dig a hole to be close to a deceased owner

Emotional Appeal: This dog did not dig a hole to be close to a deceased owner

TL;DR Summary Making the rounds on FB again today: “A dog dug a hole in the tomb of his owner, who has just died so he can be close to him. Nothing in the World can Compare with the Love and Loyalty of a Dog for his Friend.” The story is false.  More here and here. As of today, this has been shared over 8,600 times on FB alone.

Humor about propaganda posters to make a point!

Humor about propaganda posters to make a point!

TL;DR Summary This propagandist is using the humorous observation that  many propaganda posters are not true – and twists that to its advantage. Since it is funny, it will be shared more widely. Politifact did rate it true, albeit, after a lengthy explanation. More from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Vague feel good, yet ineffective propaganda

Vague feel good, yet ineffective propaganda

TL;DR Summary This is referred to as a “glittering generality” that is vague but feels good. Many posters feature bland, feel-good statements. They influence your gut level thinking but do not otherwise accomplish much.

Accurate use of quote to achieve “transference”, “appeal to authority” and “testimonial”

Accurate use of quote to achieve “transference”, “appeal to authority” and “testimonial”

TL;DR Summary This poster uses the appeal to authority, transference and testimonial methods of propaganda on behalf of the Sanders campaign. The quote is accurate and is used in the context in which Dr. King said this. The intent is to transfer positive feelings and the authority of Dr. King to Bernie Sanders. Overall, this is an effective social media propaganda poster that achieves its goal without being dishonest or exaggerating.