Monthly Archives: September 2016

When media becomes propaganda, media consumers lose trust

Perhaps people are more aware of propaganda methods and prevalence than realized. Trust in mass media reaches an all time low.

Americans’ trust in the mass media has dropped sharply since last year to its lowest point since 1972. Republicans’ lack of faith in the media is chiefly behind this decline.

Source: Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low

The trend over time is true for all political persuasions despite the Gallup comment in the last sentence. Democrats went from a peak of 70% to 51%, Independents from a peak of 55% to 30%, and Republicans from a peak of 52% to 14%.

The loss of trust – over time – crosses age boundaries. Among the 18-49 year old group, trust fell from a peak of 55% to 26%.

Media news reporting is apparently seen as increasingly biased and irrelevant. Faced with competition from Internet hosted content and social media outlets, this does not bid well for the long term sustainability of mass media news.

Social media “quotable quote” propagation

A topic we have covered before is the prevalence of “famous quotes” said to be by historical figures. Much of the time, there is either no record that the “famous quote” was said by the historical figure or there is proof that the quote came from someone else.

Yet seemingly everyone publishes “quotable quotes” on social media. Here is another example:

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Not surprisingly, this quote originated, in a slightly modified form, from a physicist in 1963 and has nothing to do with Abraham Lincoln. The spin that this came from Abraham Lincoln started in 2008.

Why do people post these quotes on social media? Generally, it seems to be a form of virtue signaling, which, depending on the subject of the quote, can be to let others know that you are witty, an intellectual, you support the statement and what not. The purpose for posting is, obviously, up to each user that posts such quotes and we can only guess as to why a particular person chose to publish a particular quote.

 

Do some people want to receive propaganda? YES

So it goes with propaganda. For propaganda to be effective, it requires submissive subjects. As Professor Nicholas O’Shaughnessy wrote, propaganda is a “co-production in which we are willing participants.”

Source: Why Does Propaganda Work? Some People Want It | Zero Hedge

The answer is an absolute yes! Millions of people voluntarily belong to Facebook groups whose sole purpose is the dissemination of propaganda.

Whether it be left or right leaning political groups, environmental and other activist groups, many people read their daily output as gospel (a word meaning, roughly, “good news” and later interpreted as “truth”).

Bottom line: Yes, millions and millions of people voluntarily subscribe to propaganda dissemination!

Was Omaha Deaf Student Bullied and his backpack thrown in a toilet?

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TL; DR Summary

  • The backpack belonging to a deaf student was thrown into a toilet.
  • When we see this headline, we immediately envision students harassing a deaf student, stealing his backpack and throwing it in a toilet.
  • This story has been widely shared on Facebook as an illustration of bullying behavior; indeed, bullying behavior against a deaf student.
  • Except that is not what happened. Instead, this is a beautifully crafted story whose emotional bait successfully hooks all of us, so we like and share.
  • Emotional bait is a highly effective means of propaganda dissemination. In this example, suggesting a deaf student was bullied serves the promotional interests of those wishing to convey a message about school bullying (even though such bullying did not occur here). When you see news – or FB posts – note how many use emotional contexts to “bait” you in to reading and sharing, even though the story may not be important in a larger context.

The back pack had been inadvertently left on a lunch room table. Two students picked up and promptly did something stupid – they tossed it in a toilet. However, the students did not know the backpack belonged to a deaf student.

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