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Category: Appeal to Authority

Nutrition: the role that propaganda played in picking the wrong villain

Nutrition: the role that propaganda played in picking the wrong villain

Yudkin argued that excess sugar was causing health problems. Keys argued that sugar was not the problem – the consumption of fat was causing health problems. Keys was effective at loudly denouncing anyone who criticized his fat hypothesis. For 40 years, we were told to avoid all fats and that sugar consumption was not a problem. Propaganda messaging played a major role in persuading the public that any fat in the diet was bad while simultaneously asserting that sugar consumption was not a problem for most people.

Climate Communications “Fail”: This is what happens when propaganda gets extreme

Climate Communications “Fail”: This is what happens when propaganda gets extreme

A classic illustration of how exaggerated, hyperbolic and untrue statements about climate lead to people conclude that projections of human-induced climate change are not true. Our own thesis is that improved communication comes from honest and accurate presentation of facts and logical arguments. Unfortunately, the climate communications community has, rather consistently, engaged in increasingly shrill propaganda messaging that eventually results in the “The boy who cried wolf” phenomena where no one believes anything anymore. This item illustrates how climate communications has backfired, circled back on itself, and produced an outcome opposite to what was intended.

Climate Communications: Climate media coverage lacks facts, say researchers

Climate Communications: Climate media coverage lacks facts, say researchers

Two professors took a look at how the media has reported on the topic of climate and found that almost all news reports leave out critical and basic facts about climate. A corollary is that instead of reporting facts and the use of logic that supports anthropogenic climate change, most turn to propaganda methods such as appeal to authority, fear, name calling (“deniers”), get-on-the-bandwagon and so on. Incredibly, as I was writing this post The Nature Conservancy sent an email fundraising solicitation which illustrates the point: the first sentence of the email makes 4 demonstrably false claims to create fear about changes in climate. “Factfulness” teaches us how to detect when we are being misled – this turned out to be classic example of a charitable organization making exaggerated claims not supported by reputable science organizations (IPCC, NOAA, The Royal Society).

This post may be the first of several on how climate communications has been badly bungled by reliance on propaganda methods, rather than sticking with facts and logic.

Youtube now pseudo fact checking some videos

Youtube now pseudo fact checking some videos

Youtube has begun flagging videos on selected topics and displays a fairly large banner with a quote from Wikipedia – just in case the video does not meet Google’s own definitions of truthiness. Or something. It’s kinda weird since they use Wikipedia – the encyclopedia that anyone can and does edit – as the source of truth.