Wake-up Call

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Posts Tagged ‘Facts

Welcome to the Zoo

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American public discourse has degenerated rapidly over the last half century. Rationality and logical thinking have been replaced with magical thinking and fallacious appeals to authority, encouraged by the cult of celebrity.

Democracy is not possible with such citizens. The destruction of our educational system has been orchestrated with this goal at the same time as our treadmill culture has sped up to minimize opportunities for reflection.  We are treated like domesticated animals, and in many ways people have adapted to become such.  Welcome to the zoo.

–Claudia

Sunday, July 11, 2010
BOSTON GLOBE COMMENTARY

How facts backfire

By JOE KEOHANE
It’s one of the great assumptions underlying modern democracy that an informed citizenry is preferable to an uninformed one. “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1789. This notion, carried down through the years, underlies everything from humble political pamphlets to presidential debates to the very notion of a free press. Mankind may be crooked timber, as Kant put it, uniquely susceptible to ignorance and misinformation, but it’s an article of faith that knowledge is the best remedy. If people are furnished with the facts, they will be clearer thinkers and better citizens. If they are ignorant, facts will enlighten them. If they are mistaken, facts will set them straight.

In the end, truth will out. Won’t it?

Maybe not. Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger…..

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then put your hands together and consider the obvious:

Written by laudyms

July 12, 2010 at 10:08 am

Why Facts No Longer Matter

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by Anne Landman   April 28, 2010   PRWatch.org

A recent PRWatch blog discussed how corporations are increasingly turning to cause marketing to get around people’s ability to tune out their daily deluge of advertising. Cause marketing, or “affinity marketing,” is a sophisticated PR strategy in which a corporation allies itself with a cause that evokes strong emotions in targeted consumers, like curing cancer, alleviating poverty, feeding the hungry, helping the environment or saving helpless animals. The relationship avails the company of a more effective way to grab the attention of their audience, by telling them compelling stories linked to the cause, for example tales of survival, loss, strength, good works, etc. Once the company gets your attention, it links its name and brands to the positive emotions generates by the cause. The company then leverages that emotion to get you to buy the stuff they’ve linked to the cause — and improve its corporate image.

Cause marketing works, which is why its use is spreading like wildfire. The operative word that the whole idea turns on is “emotion,” because the ability to manipulate people depends completely on generating an emotional connection that the company can exploit.

Emotional Exploitation and Public Policy

Entire industries exploit emotions not just to sell goods, but also to influence public policy. Tobacco industry documents provide an excellent example:

In 1998, California’s Proposition 10, a measure to raise cigarette taxes, made it onto the ballot was headed for a statewide vote. Naturally, the tobacco industry opposed it.

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