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Category: Glittering Generality

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.

Effective propaganda posters that do not actually mean much

Effective propaganda posters that do not actually mean much

TL;DR Summary President Obama selected as the most admired man in the world, per Gallup Poll of U.S. residents. Analysis: True! And it is good that the US President is selected for this, in this poll. Almost every year since 1946, the current sitting President has been identified by this Gallup poll as the most admired man in the world. Doesn’t matter who is in office (except for Gerald Ford – it sucks to be Gerald Ford, apparently). This works…

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Do more people go to jail than to college?

Do more people go to jail than to college?

TL;DR Summary This type of quote is known as a “glittering generality”. The clearly implied assertion is that more people go to jail than to college but this is false. The quote makes for good propaganda but it is a lie. Comparing “instant in time” measures, there were 20.6M in college in the fall of 2012 to about 2.4 million in prison or jail or detention. 41% of those aged 18-24 are in college! Poster source: Occupy Democrats Even though the quote is…

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Denmark Fairy Tales: Is Denmark the happiest country because of this? No.

Denmark Fairy Tales: Is Denmark the happiest country because of this? No.

Almost every item on this social media propaganda poster is false. Yet this poster was widely distributed on social media and nearly everyone who saw, liked or shared it believes these items are true. First, the much publicized World Happiness Index is not based on any of the items on this propaganda poster. Second, Denmark does not have a minimum wage law nor does it have a 33 hour work week. Denmark does have free university but not for any of the reasons you probably are thinking of. Denmark has subsidized child care, not free child care. The only item that is almost correct is about health care that is free at point of service (paid for by high taxes) but does not cover dentistry, vision or all prescription costs.

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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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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