Appeal to authority We cannot say that is unreasonable to believe authorities. There is a logical model behind of appeal to authority: Assumption 1: X is an authority on a particular topic. Assumption 2: X makes a statement about that topic. Conclusion: X is probably correct. In the ideal world of scientists there is an agreement that authorities should prove their statements as rigorously as a graduate student. In politics, well . . . everybody knows this fallacy:
”An extremely credible source” has called my office and told me that @BarackObama’s birth certificate is fraud. It should be extremely credible, since he himself stated that it is . . . . How about this statement? Einstein said that E = mc2, so it is true. There is no causal relationship between who says something and whether it’s true or not. What is true that mass-energy equivalence is a general principle, and it is the consequence of some fundamental properties of time and space. (No more physics, let’s speak about ads). What is the relationship between a celebrity actor, who became famous, as Dr. Ross, and machines, which brew coffee. He says, that ”he is proud to work with the company in its commitment – that every cup its coffee has a positive impact on the world.”89
Game change in the media manipulation ”If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed” (Mark Twain). Even in the old dayst here where threats to media objectivity. Politicians and journalists might wanted to change reality. They could exploit the fact that the media was more or less reliable. Distortion, exaggeration, fabrication and simplification was the exception, not the rule as now. Traditional authoritarians controlled of all media, and adopted censorship and ideologically oriented propaganda to maintain hegemony over their populations. In the world of the new authoritarians more sophisticated methods are employed to influence public opinion and shape political narratives. By restricting space for alternative media outlets, and ensuring the dominance of state-owned and state-friendly media assets, the new autocrats keep dissenting views out of the news and manipulate political discourse.
In the past, general interest intermediaries (think of the 1960s when there were three major news networks–ABC, NBC, and CBS–that controlled TV news) have exercised a great deal of influence over access to information, so traditional techniques of censorship have entailed shuttering newspapers, revoking broadcast licenses, or threatening (or even murdering) journalists that disagreed with a government’s agenda. But now we live in an age where ”media” has come to mean everything from CNN or NPR to one’s Facebook feed. With the decline in the relative power of general interest intermediaries and the rise in the influence of personalized media, manipulation
and censorship techniques now focus on making the entire media landscape seem
illegitimate and sowing distrust in what have historically been considered ”objective” institutions and voices.90.
The future of free speech and new form of censorship and manipulation are now hot topics in our changing world 91. A new type of manipulation seems to emerge. We read what we want to read, and it is major threat 92 If technology efficiently use filters, people get predetermined information by delivering them a personalized journal, the ”Daily Me”. So, they (we) will live in echo chambers which are means to amplify beliefs. (Remember for confirmation bias!). It would exclude to get surprising news from people living in other ”chambers”, and contribute to live in a society where people are closed by their own choice to their own mind.
2 thoughts on “Manipulation (cont.)”
Once again, Peter’s narrative style, and the wonderfully relevant topic, hooks the reader’s attention.
On the ‘fear’ technique: I am aware that the concept of ‘Karma’ is often exploited, wrongly, to embed fear in vulnerable and impressionable minds, which then becomes a powerful ‘handle’ for manipulation.
Ah – selective information – reminds one of the excellent depiction of a White Hall character in Sir Humphrey of the Yes Minister/Prime Minister fame, where he says of the Prime Minister: ‘…yes, but does he *need* to know?’ Information filtering at its best !! …Jokes apart – completely agree with the dangers of selective information: incomplete/half-baked knowledge is perhaps more dangerous than ignorance? In other words, filtering information may give rise to the state of ‘I don’t know that I don’t know’, as opposed to no information at all, when ‘I know that I don’t know’.
Thank you Basab for the kind words and for the brill examples!