Browsed by
Category: In Practice

Media influences your thinking merely by choosing which stories to run

Media influences your thinking merely by choosing which stories to run

435 Congressional Representatives were elected last November. How many can you name? Probably not many. But you can probably name Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez due to the media’s odd fixation on her with non-stop saturation coverage. Why has the media singled out one Representative for saturation coverage – and largely ignores the other 434 Representatives?

Controversial “viral” video clip was pushed on social media by “a network of anonymous” and apparently fake accounts

Controversial “viral” video clip was pushed on social media by “a network of anonymous” and apparently fake accounts

Social media is the new battleground. It’s being used to push people over the edge, to threaten violence against others, and in some cases, leading to actual violence. A controversial video clip that spread online in the past day was pushed by what appears to have been a fake account.

How online news manipulates your perspectives on events by running the same story each day

How online news manipulates your perspectives on events by running the same story each day

Have you noticed that many online news web sites – both newspapers and TV stations – will run a news story and then leave it prominently on their web page for days – even weeks? The stories are typically ones that inflame reader or viewer emotions – and the effect of turning them into semi-permanent stories is to distort the perception of the importance of the story. The primary purpose is likely “click-bait” to drive advertising clicks, but they may also distort the public’s perception on important policy issues.

Fear and false assertion used to market a government law

Fear and false assertion used to market a government law

Obamacare was judged unconstitutional by a Federal judge today. In response, a number of politicians made comments such as this one: “Today’s ruling is an assault on 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions”. That claim, however, is false. It is not well known but HIPAA (passed in 1996) provided protections for many, and about half of the U.S. states enacted various protections against pre-existing condition exclusions. This was hidden by design. By implying (falsely) that 1/3d of the U.S. population would be denied health insurance, the method of fear is used to create political support.

How airlines use intimidation to persuade you to spend more money

How airlines use intimidation to persuade you to spend more money

The new multi-level boarding scheme and “class-based” seating assignment is designed to embarrass the low payers, who must walk down the full front and center seats. Everyone knows that you, boarding last, are the cheap skate who bought a cheap ticket. This intimidation uses techniques of propaganda to persuade you to buy a higher priced ticket on your next flight.

#Facebook uses propaganda troll methods to boost public’s image of Facebook

#Facebook uses propaganda troll methods to boost public’s image of Facebook

Facebook deploys propaganda campaigns to tarnish its competitors and to discredit FB critics by associating them with those who may have unsavory public reputations. Facebook adopts the same methods used by the Internet Research Agency of Russia but for the benefit of Facebook. None of this is a surprise considering that Facebook is the world’s leading propaganda platform.

Are social media posts badly misinformed? Probably

Are social media posts badly misinformed? Probably

In light of the survey finding most voters are badly misinformed on well known and popular public policy issues the same is likely true about social media posts. It is likely that more than half of political or policy oriented social media posts are incorrect. But depending on who makes the posts, and how many followers they have, their incorrect posts can be influential – and plant non factual and illogical constructions in the minds of their targets.

Survey finds most voters are badly misinformed about well known policy topics

Survey finds most voters are badly misinformed about well known policy topics

A survey finds that most voters are badly misinformed about popular policy topics. Literally, what they know is wrong – per the facts. This is not an opinion survey but a knowledge survey. Take the survey yourself – how well do you score on these knowledge topics? Consider the role that propaganda plays in misinforming voters, and how opinion polls of misinformed voters are then used to influence policy.