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Category: Propaganda Methods

Winner of best fake news headline award: “UK researchers warn of only ’50 percent’ success for COVID vaccine trial | Fox News”

Winner of best fake news headline award: “UK researchers warn of only ’50 percent’ success for COVID vaccine trial | Fox News”

Headline makes it sound like there is only a 50% chance the Oxford vaccine will work against Covid-19. But that is not what this is about – at all. The real world incidence of Covid-19 is falling rapidly and might be so low that they are unable to see how the vaccine effects individuals contracting Covid-19 – because you can’t get the disease if the disease has largely vanished.

The researchers think that because of this, there is a 50% chance they will have insufficient data by September to say the vaccine meets requirements by then – and the tests may take longer. The headline is intended to lead you astray and emotionally thinking “Oh no! Vaccines won’t work”, which has been a mainstay of speculative scary reporting for the past 2 months.

Propaganda method: Recycle old stories that are years out of date-“The American Dream Is Killing Us”

Propaganda method: Recycle old stories that are years out of date-“The American Dream Is Killing Us”

Recycling an old opinion column by an author who focuses on persuading you that life is miserable, not fair and getting worse – is an interesting twist on propaganda. The date – its old -is not presented until a footnote at the very end of the very long column; the column was written during the recovery from The Great Recession, immediately after significant economic turmoil. This is the media’s usual focus on negativity by an author who makes his living on negativity.

Propaganda methods: Framing the story

Propaganda methods: Framing the story

We all have “frames” of reference that describe various life scenarios. When we walk into a restaurant we have a “frame” that pretty much explains how we expect the restaurant experience to go. We each carry around a lot of subconscious “frames” about how we think the world works. Effective propaganda messaging links to the frames we expect the target to already have. This is not all that surprising but what is old is now new again ๐Ÿ™‚

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.