Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Self deception

I have theory. Reading often takes place from an altitude of 35,000 feet. From this distance we may be able to make out landmarks; but we’re prone to missing one or two features that can lead us into incomprehensible territory. I admit, when it happens to me I usually walk away blaming the author. However, sometimes I’ll go back and find what it is I may have missed. Today was such as occasion. I have an interest in what goes on in Nevada because I have a friend living there who is politically active. So, I’m reading an article about unions representing Vegas Casinos ..like the culinary union and the gaming union. It’s a big issue because of what happened in Wisconsin yesterday. Anyway, it’s talking about a company called Station Casinos that owns a string of casinos that aren’t union. An immediate image of several big strip Casinos comes to mind and I get the impression they’re a big player. Now I’m reading to find out what they’ve been doing right to keep their employees happy and uninterested in voting union. What came next stopped making sense. Why are they engaged in an ugly battle with the unions ..? What went wrong ..? And who’s giving the unions any odds of winning in a state like Nevada ..especially after what happened in Wisconsin? Does this writer know what he’s talking about ..? Should I give my friend a call ..? I left to go do something else and when I came back, decided to give it a second look. Sure enough, I found the culprit and it was me. A sentence that I thought had said:
“The company Station owns several casinos that cater to Vegas residents playing at the high-rolling big strip casinos.”
actually said:
“The company Station owns several casinos that cater to Vegas residents …leaving the high-roller tourist trade to big strip casino (operators)
This re-frames my comprehension, turning Station into a small time player ..catering to Vegas residents who play,  like ..bingo and slot machines off the strip. The unions have targeted them precisely because they are small and vulnerable. Like adjusting the focus on a pair of binoculars, the narrative comes into resolution.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Propaganda

“We rely on media to serve as our window on the world, but media can also distort what we see. It can act as a lens or as a filter, enlarging some topics and minimizing others”
Propaganda is defined as “the systematic dissemination of information meant to support or discredit an idea.” A new study out of Georgia Tech [ link ] identifies four ways to recognize propaganda sent by political advocates over Twitter. They refer to them as hyper-advocates, whose actions separate them from typical users.
 
1. Sends high volumes of tweets over short periods of time;  2. Re-tweets while publishing little original content;  3. Quickly re-tweets others' content; and   4. Coordinates with other, seemingly unrelated users to send duplicate or near-duplicate messages on the same topic simultaneously.