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Category: Name Calling

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 and Journalism’ish: Crisis, Emergency, Deniers and the language of propaganda in The Guardian

Climate communications and Journalism’ish: Crisis, Emergency, Deniers and the language of propaganda in The Guardian

The Guardian announces that it requires their staff to use pejorative propaganda terminology rather than the facts of atmospheric CO2 levels rising, sea level ice and temperature changes, ice mass changes and so on. Anyone who does not 100% adopt The Guardian’s perspective is to be labeled a “denier” (name calling, transference from “Holocaust denier”, get on the bandwagon). The word “climate” should be associated with “crisis”, “emergency” or “heating” (transference, fear). Shrill terminology designed to inflame and create emotional outrage is a turn off and causes readers to tune out from the issues.

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.

Should we respond to Portland riots with even more violence?

Should we respond to Portland riots with even more violence?

Portland has become “ground zero” in the use of street violence against those holding views that others disagree with. Right wing hate groups, like Proud Boys, deliberately come to Portland with a goal of instigating violent uprisings. Portland is ground zero for a movement informally referred to as “Antifa”.

Antifa has no specific ideology but believes in the use of violence (vigilante and mob justice) against anyone they disagree with. While this example was about a right wing hate group, Antifa is all over the map in terms of what they do not like, and then applying violence to those targets. Both groups are filled with angry people, consumed by outrage, and not just inflamed by social media propaganda, but using social media as their platform to encourage more conflict, more outrage and more violence. None of these activities are leading to solutions – they lead only to more violence and more outrage.

The cesspool called Twitter

The cesspool called Twitter

The noise level on Twitter greatly exceeds the signal, as their content has become overrun with meanness, falsehoods and outrage. This is not good for anyone’s mental health. I have no idea when or if I will log in again after the events of this past week.

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.

Advertisers seek social media platforms that promote positive impact

Advertisers seek social media platforms that promote positive impact

As this blog has noted, much of social media has devolved into a culture of perpetual outrage by angry people often consumed with hate. This sort of social media is not fun to be around. Advertisers are noticing this too: “Unilever will not invest in platforms or environments that do not protect our children or which create division in society, and promote anger or hate,” Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed is expected to say Monday during the Interactive Advertising…

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No, the “OK” Gesture Is Not a Hate Symbol

No, the “OK” Gesture Is Not a Hate Symbol

Has the simple thumb-and-forefinger “OK” hand gesture become a white supremacist hand sign? Source: No, the “OK” Gesture Is Not a Hate Symbol says the Anti-Defamation League. Another day, another Internet meme – this time claiming that people making a popular “Ok” symbol with their thumb and index finger are actually expressing a symbol for “white power”. This in turn has been used to publicly accuse people who display the “ok” symbol as clandestinely flashing a white power symbol. All thanks…

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Social media outrage mob falsely accuses professor of racism, calls for his firing

Social media outrage mob falsely accuses professor of racism, calls for his firing

Social media outrage led to amateurs falsely identifying a University professor as participating in the Charlottesville, VA mob, leading to people publicly calling him a racist and calling upon the university to fire the professor of engineering. He was verified and confirmed at University event 1,100 miles away at the time of the riot. Imagine if this happened to any of us – and we did not happen to be at an event providing us with an alibi. Social media…

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Social media and the Paris Climate Agreement

Social media and the Paris Climate Agreement

In the past couple of hours, my social media feeds have *exploded* with loudly expressed perspectives on the Paris Climate Agreement. How many of those expressing a perspective have read the Agreement? I am guessing that is a number approaching zero. The agreement is short, as far as government documents go, and you can read it for yourself here. What does the Paris Climate Agreement actually do? Read the text for yourself. It is a voluntary set of guidelines, with…

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