Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ed vs Ad

If we spent our efforts on education instead of advertising, imagine how well informed we might be.

Education consists of information and context, objectivity and principles considered.  Tedious but necessary for an honest life.

Advertising consists of presentation for quick persuasion, exclusion of alternatives, and hiding the real cost.  It's a business strategy to influence our choices and instill product loyalty whether it's fast food or fast news.

There is little education available via the mainstream media.  Most of what we're offered by commercial media is more appropriately categorized as advertising.  Objective reporting has been generally removed from modern journalism, and perhaps deliberately. (ref)(ref)(ref)

Do your own analysis.  Watch for the 'poison pills'.
  • BECAUSE - a commentary that goes beyond the facts to 'because' (the supposed reason someone did something) often assigns a preferred motive.
        "He did this, obviously because he hoped to ...."
    Attributing a motive allows the commentator to define the character and integrity of an individual without evidence beyond their own preferential interpretation of events.  
Motivation cannot be so simply assigned, and doing so is extraordinarily inaccurate, always.  What I think you think is not useful.

  • RESTATING the alternate interpretation - confident reiteration of false information will often persuade.
      "His testimony completely vindicates our ...," is one side's preferred interpretation.
      "The testimony unveils even deeper collusion between ...," is another side's preferred interpretation of precisely the same event.
    If you follow the news just on your favorite commercial media, you'll likely believe the biased version offered without legitimate reason for doing so.
  • EMOTIONAL INCITEMENT - an emotionally charged presentation of the news (product) attempts to engage us in their favor by emotional rhetoric.  Simple statements about complex subjects are easy to inflate and bend.
    "He met with the Russians!  He's a traitor!"  "She deleted her emails!  She's a traitor!" "He tapped my phones!"
    The issues are more complex, and the simple, emotionally charged presentation tends to reinforce bias rather than inform.  The technique is designed to engage and satisfy a particular market segment.
  • VISUAL MANIPULATION - sponsors spent $74.7 billion on tv ads.  The figure does not include print and web.  Advertising and neuromarketing target us and our children, and it's done for profit, not as a service.  From a sexy book cover to a cute dog driving a car to a fun clown with fast food, what we're offered by the media is persuasion, not information.
Most media output (including commercial news) is more appropriately categorized as advertising than as information.  Today, they're all competing for sales, working for revenue and not for public service.
 Teach your children well; and yourself.  If we don't clearly and fully understand, we're likely to be misinformed, perhaps even biased without adequate reason.  We desperately need objectivity and principle in discussions today, and it's a difficult battle, one for which our children must be equipped.  
As my wife would suggest, don't be an idiot.     

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