Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Influencing Machine

_The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media_ by Brooke Gladstone, illustrated by Josh Neufeld
NY:  WW Norton, 2011
ISBN 978-0-393-07779-7
 
(xiv)  The American media are not afraid of the government.  They are afraid of their audiences and advertisers.  The media do not control you.  They pander to you.

(52)  Erstwhile reporter Mark Twain said that concocting amusing lies for money was nothing compared to the "clammy stillness" of the press when confronting such horrors as, say, slavery.  He called it "the lie of silent assertion that there wasn't anything going on in which humane and intelligent people were interested...  Why should we help the nation lie the whole day long and then object to telling one little individual private lie in our own interest to go to bed on?  Just for the refreshment of it, I mean.  And to take the rancid taste out of our mouth."

(62) Commercial Bias:  News needs conflict and momentum.  It needs to be _new_.  
Bad News Bias:  emphasizing bad news is good business.

(63)  Status Quo Bias:  our preference, all other things being equal, for things to _stay the same_.
Andrew Cline's Rhetorica Network offers an incisive breakdown of bias.

(64)  Access Bias:  The problem, of course, is that when journalists are held captive by their sources, they are susceptible to Stockholm syndrome.  They empathize with their jailers.

(65)  Visual Bias:  News that has a visual hook is more likely to be noticed.
Narrative Bias:  Some news stories, science stories for instance, never really end.  _They're all middle.  It's a narrative nightmare.

(69)  Fairness Bias:  Journalists will bend over backward to appear balanced by offering equal to opposing viewpoints, even when they aren't equal.

(95)  Michael Herr:  We all knew that if you stayed too long you became one of those poor bastards who had to have a war on all the time...  I don't know -- it took the war to teach it -- that you were as responsible for everything you _saw_ as you were for everything you _did_

(98)  Adolph Ochs, owner of the NY Times:  It will be my earnest aim that the New York Times give the news... impartially, without fear or favor regardless of party, sect, or interest involved... to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion...  Nor will there be a departure from the general tone... unless it be... to intensify its devotion to the cause of sound money and tariff reform... and its advocacy of the _lowest tax_ consistent with good government and _no more government_ that is absolutely necessary to protect society...

(120)  Most of _biases- are unconscious too.   Shankar Bedantam, _The HIdden Brain_

(146)  Marshall McLuhan:  It is man who is the content of and the message of the media, which are extensions of himself.  Electronic man must know the effects of the world he has made above all things.

Andrew Cline's Rhetorica Network offers an incisive breakdown of bias:  http://rhetorica.net/bias.htm
  1. Commercial bias: 
  2. Temporal bias: 
  3. Visual bias: 
  4. Bad news bias: 
  5. Narrative bias: 
  6. Status Quo bias:
  7. Fairness bias: 
  8. Expediency bias: 
  9. Glory bias:

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