Thursday, February 13, 2014

Spin: How your desires are used against you

Spin can truly be amazing, and it's usually so convoluted that to point it out is a wasted effort. However, once in awhile you get a rare gem that just stands out like a sore thumb and can provide a perfect example for those who better want to understand what propaganda and misinformation is.

I had wanted to do this post directly after Obama's state of the union and originally I was going to address the whole thing, but it was this one statement that really drew my ire. I've been mulling what to do with this post, but the relevance window is quickly going away so this is what you get. From his state of the union address of 2014:
Taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet. Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth. But we have to act with more urgency – because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods. That’s why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air. The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.
Alright, now before you look at what I'm about to point out I want you to see if you can spot the problem on your own. Call it a thought exercise.


(jeopardy music)


Ready?

Ok. Now, there is one part in particular that is true, but within the context he's using it is a complete lie: "Taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet. Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth."

It's true, they have, want to see that in a chart form?

source
So if you answered "Obama basically took credit for millions of Americans becoming 'used-to-haves' and the resulting reduction in fuel consumption and pinned it on a fictional green technology revolution to appeal to his voting base": You'd be correct.

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

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