The “cherry picking” method of propaganda

The “cherry picking” method of propaganda

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“Cherry picking” refers to selecting only the data or results that are favorable for one’s position while intentionally ignoring that which unfavorable.

The Marist/NPR/PBS political poll results from January are available here.

  • The poll found that 45% of those polled “strongly disapprove”of Trump and 54% either disapprove or strongly disapprove.
  • 57% of those polled say they will definitely vote against Trump in 2020. 91% of Democrats and 62% of independents  (the largest “party” in the country) fall into this category.

Trump found one positive item in the poll and cherry picked that result to share on Twitter:

PBS has more to say about the poll results here.

“Cherry picking” can be an effective means of propaganda messaging because for many “What You See Is All There Is”. Those seeing the message are likely unaware of the rest of the details of the poll. When the full set of data is presented, the propaganda message falls flat – but most people will never see the full data set.

Remember, propaganda is targeting your fast acting “System 1” gut level response. Doing actual analysis of data uses your more complex “System 2” rational thinking. Most people instantly respond intuitively and will not give the quote serious thought. Because of this “cherry picking” is extraordinarily common in propaganda messaging.

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