Archive for the ‘disinformation’ Category

The “eye candy” effect

September 2, 2007

Fascinating information from the book unSpun:

The Eye Candy Effect: pictures tend to overpower spoken words.

Propagandists know that when words say one thing and pictures say another, it’s the pictures that count.

Drug companies have become particularly adept at showing us smiling faces and flowery pictures while the narrator recites material they hope we won’t notice, such as those lists of unpleasant and even debilitating or dangerous possible side effects.

For example, there was a TV ad for the anti-depressant drug Praxil CR.  In the ad it showed an attractive young woman walking her dog in a park , chatting with friends, smiling, obviously free of depression. Meanwhile, an announcer was saying, “Side effects may include nausea, sweating, sexual side effects, weakness, insomnia, or sleepiness.” Viewers weren’t seeing any of the undesirable possible side effects they were being told about, and as a result, many of them probably weren’t actually hearing the words or taking them into account.

When the words and the pictures differ, what we see tends to override what we hear. It’s just the way human beings are wired.

unSpun finding facts in a world of disinformation by Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Characterizing (U.S.) Democrats and Republicans

August 29, 2007

“Democrats promise social programs without mentioning future costs to taxpayers, while Republicans promise reduced taxes but are vague about future deficits or program cuts.”

unSpun, finding facts in a world of disinformation by Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Be wary of “dangling comparatives”

August 28, 2007

“Larger, Better, Faster, Better-Tasting.  Advertisers frequently employ such terms in an effort to make their product stand out from the crowd.  In a recent ad, makers of New Ban Intensely Fresh Formula deodorant claimed it ‘keeps you fresher longer.’   One might be forgiven for thinking they meant it keeps you fresher, longer than the competition.  But, as a competitor complained to the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division, they meant fresher than Ban’s old formulation. ”

“A dangling comparative occurs when any term meant to compare two things — a word such as ‘higher,’ ‘better,’ faster,’ ‘more’ — is left dangling without stating what’s being compared.”

“When you hear a dangling comparative term such as ‘more’ or ‘higher,’ always ask, ‘Compared to what?’  The answer may surprise you — and keep you from being fooled.”

unSpun, finding facts in a world of disinformation by Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson