Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ed vs Ad

If we spent as much effort on education as we do on 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 control our choices and product loyalty whether it's fast food or fast news.

There is little education available via the mainstream media.  Objective reporting has been generally removed from modern journalism, and not for the first time in history.

Do your own analysis.  Watch for the 'poison pills'.
  • BECAUSE - Commentary including the word 'because' often assigns a motive to someone.
        "He did this because he hoped to ...."
    Attributing a motive allows the commentator to define the character and integrity of an individual without any evidence other than their own preferential interpretation of events.  
    • Motivation cannot be so simply assigned.  Doing so is extraordinarily inaccurate, always.
    • What I think you think is not as useful as we hoped.  
  • 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 the same event.
    If you follow the news on your favorite media, you'll likely believe the biased version offered without legitimate reason for doing so.

  • EMOTIONAL APPEAL - an emotionally charged presentation of the news (product) attempts to engage us in their favor.  Simple statements about complex issues are easy to bend.
    "He met with the Russians!  He's a traitor!"  "She tried to delete her classified emails!  She's a traitor!"
    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 APPEAL - mega-millions spent on advertising and neuromarketing target our children and us to sell us their product.  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.

 Teach your children well.  And yourself - if you don't fully understand the position of those who think differently, you're perhaps uneducated and somewhat biased without adequate cause.  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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