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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The difference between spin and propaganda

Update: "proofiness" - related, check it out


What weight should opinion polls have in "news" and/or "news/analysis"?

What is legitimate for newcasters to say about polls? Are after-the-fact polls different than polls before the fact?

I'm not talking about polls that we know can be shaded to get the answer one wants. I'm talking about polls that are deliberately misused to support an opinion or to "make news".

These questions are brought up with FOX coverage today (and almost everyday).

To that end, I'm bumping up the item below, taken from earlier this week. And anyone who thinks Olbermann is the same as FOX is gravely in error.

"It's a vote against Liberalism". Another propaganda generalization?

Fact check: What "policies of liberals", enacted by Obama, have failed, in the short time he's been in office?

TARP? Anti-terrorism? Car company bailouts? Wall Street bailout? Economic stimulus via huge tax cuts, about 50% of the whole package (was stimulus itself liberal and not mostly math)?

The turgid O'Reilly says, "I've never given out misinformation" (11/1/10). But is that the whole story?

Epistemic bubble at FOX will not answer or present these questions. That IS a form of misinformation. Why won't they? Because doing so would prejudice the answer, the answer they want to leave in their viewer's minds, the tautology that Hannity himself alluded to directly tonight: liberals "always" failed because they are liberal.

Separately, consider Hannity's interview with Angle. Did they get out the facts - just hard facts - about the alleged fraud or was at least half of it dealt with in generalities, broad assertions? Isn't the failure to get to who, what, where, when, and how pretty much misinformation? Even making allowances for how much one person might know, there is no way an objective observer could say that Hannity covered the whole story. Deliberate or not, that's not creating an informed listener, enough that one would conclude that was not the objective of the interview.