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Category: Logical Fallacy

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.

Ignorance contributes to the effectiveness of propaganda

Ignorance contributes to the effectiveness of propaganda

Democrats won the popular vote in the U.S. Senate, therefore the 2018 election is unfair, says the meme. Sounds convincing – until you see this claim taken apart by the Washington Post. In fact, Democrats won 22 of the 35 seats or 65% of the seats while receiving just 55% of the total votes. Read the whole thing. This is an example of propaganda messaging that uses the “What you see is all there is” method. Also see thelogical fallacy of implying a vote of 1/3d of the Senate seats is a vote of 100% of Senate seats, fooling the target of the propaganda messaging.

Part 8: Is Denmark a socialist country?

Part 8: Is Denmark a socialist country?

This blog analyzed a popular social media propaganda post that was widely distributed in 2016. The poster encouraged viewers to share if you wanted the U.S. to be just like Denmark. Nearly all the claims about Denmark, however, were false. Yet the poster was widely shared. Another popular meme is that Denmark is a socialist country and we should be just like Denmark. Except Denmark is not a socialist country – and that is according to the Prime Minister of Denmark.

The joy of living in a fact-free world of official government propaganda #Cellphone #Crashes #Propaganda

The joy of living in a fact-free world of official government propaganda #Cellphone #Crashes #Propaganda

WCSO is the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. They put out this social media poster on Twitter, regarding cell phone usage / distracted driving and fatalities. They cite ODOT Crash Analysis & Reporting, 2015. But check the details. Per the ODOT report just 1 of the 73 pedestrian fatalities was linked to cell phone usage (see page 18, fatal pedestrian accident data). 0.7% of all accidents and 0.5% of accidents having a fatality were linked to cell phone usage. Most people…

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Polar bears, social media, and how our emotional response may have helped a PR stunt

Polar bears, social media, and how our emotional response may have helped a PR stunt

(This item – featuring a polar bear – emotionally hooked many people – and for some, any discussion is controversial. However, this post is not about polar bears or climate change but about successful propaganda messaging.) Here is the original dying polar bear photo and post from photographer Paul Nicklen. Read carefully. He – and his associate – never say this polar bear is dying due to climate change but he does link climate change to polar bear habitat and…

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“Deluge” of information makes it difficult for social media users to recognize true and false statements

“Deluge” of information makes it difficult for social media users to recognize true and false statements

Mark Zuckerberg argues that more information reaching more people enhances democracy. But, as the adage goes, quantity does not equal quality. Source: Facebook Built Its Vision of Democracy on Bad Math | WIRED The linked article says social media users are under a deluge of information overload – there is now so much information in our news feeds – much of it fake or false – that we are unable to distinguish between the real and the false. This concept…

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Disaster Propaganda Part 2: Is there anything it can’t do?

Disaster Propaganda Part 2: Is there anything it can’t do?

This is not the Part 2 I was planning to post. Guess there will be Part 3! Earthquakes! A 7.1 or 7.2 magnitude earthquake occurred near Mexico City. Mexico is the 7th most seismically active country due to the intersection of 3 tectonic plates. An 8.1 magnitude earthquake took place near there in 1985, causing massive destruction to Mexico City. Large magnitude quakes are very common in Mexico (click for list) Big quakes in Mexico are not unusual and they…

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Begging the question (fallacy) in propaganda messaging

Begging the question (fallacy) in propaganda messaging

“Begging the question, sometimes known by its Latin name petitio principii (meaning assuming the initial point), is a logical fallacy in which the writer or speaker assumes the statement under examination to be true. In other words, begging the question involves using a premise to support itself. If the premise is questionable, then the argument is bad.” Source: Begging the question (fallacy) – Grammarist This is explained by example at a conservative leaning blog: This insidious process of begging the…

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Disaster Propaganda

Disaster Propaganda

This might be the first of more than one post. I have been collecting, when possible, social media propaganda items regarding recent natural and unnatural disasters (such as local arson caused wildland fires). First, many people use unusual events as a platform for propaganda messaging to persuade others of their own agenda. Second, much of this propaganda messaging takes the form of asserting claims that when examined in context of historical data, are not true or are weakly partially true…

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Charts that do not mean what you think they mean

Charts that do not mean what you think they mean

A popular meme in media and social media is commentary about income distribution. The typical chart distributes the population into fifths or quintiles, like the chart shown here. The popular interpretation of this chart is to find your income level at left and conclude you are stuck in that quintile forever – and your prospects for advancement are non-existent. Did you know this interpretation is wrong? Most people do not stay in the same quintile. People look at this chart,…

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Snopes rips the media for fake news stories

Snopes rips the media for fake news stories

An in-depth analysis of the false allegations and misleading claims made against the 45th President since his inauguration. Source: The Lies of Donald Trump’s Critics, and How They Shape His Many Personas Read it, please. I am not a fan of President Trump, did not support him and I am not involved with either the Democrat or Republican parties. I have watched with disbelief, however, as the full power of propaganda messaging has been brought to play by “professional journalists”….

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The remarkable power of propaganda

The remarkable power of propaganda

I just scanned Twitter for items about the Affordable Care Act. I estimate 99% of the Tweets were lies, contained significant errors, left out key information, or significantly exaggerated points. This included linked news stories at main stream news services such as the Los Angeles Times and NPR and others, which contained significant inaccuracies or left out crucial information and data that refuted the thrust of the article. How many read the ACA? Probably a number approaching zero. How many…

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Two heroes murdered in Portland defending teens against anti-Muslim hate speech

Two heroes murdered in Portland defending teens against anti-Muslim hate speech

An individual harassed two teen women on Portland’s Trimet MAX rail system, verbally attacking Muslims and others. Three local heroes stepped up to stop the verbal assault and two were murdered by the attacker and one remains hospitalized. Additional heroes include those who provided immediate first aid and those who left the train to follow the attacker on the street. Not surprisingly, social media, even some professional media, plus the comments to news stories, turned the story in to a…

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Most car crashes caused by cellular phone usage?

Most car crashes caused by cellular phone usage?

I saw an item on a Facebook group where the general meme was that everyone knows cellular phone usage while driving is the cause of most vehicle crashes. The data, however, paints a remarkably different picture. Cellular phone usage, per the government’s own data, is a minor causative factor in vehicle crashes. There are many causative factors in car crashes: one category of causative factors is “distracted driving”. Cellular phone usage is a subset of “distracted driving”. The U.S.government’s National…

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