Being an Information Consumer of Information - Dr. Underwood's Argument Class, Fall 2012
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Being an Information Consumer of Information - Dr. Underwood's Argument Class, Fall 2012






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  • Spin – from either the news outlet itself or from the candidates PR teamWhat is it? achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization or public figure
  • Start video at first round of commercials
  • “His fascination with Booth began at age 15 when Orlowek read a passage in the book The Web of Conspiracy (1959), which indicated that Booth might have escaped from a barn where he was supposedly shot and killed after he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. “In the course of his research, Orlowek has become recognized as an authority on the case, and been interviewed many times on TV, including on NBC-TV's Unsolved Mysteries in 1991, and in articles in newspapers and magazines. In the early 1990s, the state's attorney for Baltimore City approved Orlowek's request that the body of the man whom the soldiers had shot be exhumed. (Twenty-one of the 22 certified Booth descendants supported the exhumation.) However, in October 1994, a group of historians who disagree with Orlowek's theory successfully sued to stop the exhumation.

Being an Information Consumer of Information - Dr. Underwood's Argument Class, Fall 2012 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING THAT YOU READ.Stockholm production company Day4 fooled portions of the tech world last week into believing that Apple Inc. was working on an odd-shaped screw -- an effort to show how quickly people are to believe anything they find online.Day4, as the Swedish production company is called, said it was disturbed by how ready people were to believe anything they read on the Web these days…It took less than 12 hours before the Reddit post got to tech reporters.There was skepticism among journalists but the rumor was still reported. Most people commenting on articles, however, didnt pause -- deeming the reports accurate, Day4 said. And on social media sites, "people talk about the image like its a truth. Critical thinking vaporized.“Rodriguez, S. (2012, August 14). Swedish firm’s Apple hoax shows gullibility of online readers. Los Angeles Times. 20120814,0,1702854.story
  • 2. BUT I CAN TRUST THE NEWS, RIGHT?Potential pitfalls: • “Sex sells” = sensationalism • Agenda/bias • Spin • Non-expert authors
  • 3. CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE POTENTIAL BIAS?Fox News • ConservativeCNN • LiberalHuffington Post • Self-reportedly neutral, but tends to be more liberalMSNBC • “Left-leaning”BBC News • Foreign perspective, so usually more on the neutral side
  • 4. LET’S LOOK AT THE HEADLINESRepublicans slam Reid puts GOP in aSen. Reid over bind over Romney’sRomney tax claim taxes
  • 5. LET’S LOOK AT THE HEADLINESPaul Ryancandidacy more Republicans shouldharm than help to be careful what theyRomney, insiders wish for with Paulsuggest Ryan on the ticket
  • 6. COMPARE THIS… In Pennsylvania, Biden responded to a question about why college costs keep going up by noting that it was a "puzzle" and that there was "no one thing" responsible. But among the factors he identified were increases in faculty salaries. "Salaries for college professors have escalated significantly," he said. "They should be good, but they have escalated significantly."Jaschik, S. (2012, January 16). The campaign and higher ed. Inside Higher Ed.
  • 7. WITH THIS. According to a new study by the American Association of University Professors, university and college faculty salaries have lagged far behind the substantial growth in university and college tuitions. Thus, adjusted for inflation, faculty salaries at four year doctoral private schools have gone up 7.7%. Tuitions at all private four year universities have gone up 28.9% over the last decade. The disparity at public schools is radically wider. Faculty salaries have gone up 0.7% at public doctoral schools while tuition at all publics has gone up 72% in that ten year period. And all of this has occurred as use of adjunct faculty continues to rise.Filler, D. (2012, April 20). Compare faculty salaries with college tuition hikes: Pay increases don’t explain university tuition [Blog post]. university-and-college-faculty-salaries-have-l.html
  • 9. FINDING ELECTION INFORMATIONMajor news corporations • CNN • Fox • BBCMost major newspapers’ websites • New York Times • Washington Post • Los Angeles TimesOpinion magazines • National Review, The Weekly Standard (Conservative) • The Nation, The New Republic (Liberal)Library resources! • Points of View Reference Center
  • 11. WHAT ON EARTH IS A “THINK TANK”? A think tank (or policy institute) is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, technology issues and in the creative and cultural field. Think tanks are usually non-profit organizations and can be funded by “governments, advocacy groups, or businesses.”Think tank. (2012). Wikipedia.
  • 12. THEY GENERATE DATA, SO THEY MUST BE UNBIASED. Allegheny Institute for Public Policy • The Allegheny Institute is a non-profit research and education organization. Our mission is to defend the interests of taxpayers, citizens and businesses against an increasingly burdensome and intrusive government. To that end, we will formulate and advocate public policies that roll back the size and scope of local government as well as create a more accountable government. Our efforts will be guided by the principles of free enterprise, property rights, civil society and individual freedom that are the bedrock upon which this nation was founded.Mission statement. (2009). Allegheny Institute for Public Policy.
  • 13. QUALITY. INDEPENDENCE. IMPACT. Brookings Institution The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations that advance three broad goals: • Strengthen American democracy; • Foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans; and • Secure a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system. Brookings is proud to be consistently ranked as the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tank.About Brookings. (2012). Brookings Institution.
  • 14. HOW HAVE THINK TANKS SHAPED THIS ELECTION? The GOP establishment is in full attack mode after a Tax Policy Center report concluded that Mitt Romney couldn’t offset the effect of his proposed tax cuts by simply closing loopholes benefiting the rich. Either he would have to raise taxes on middle- and/or lower-income households, or his proposal will increase the deficit. The Obama campaign ran with the first possibility and started saying that Mr. Romney was proposing a giant tax increase on the middle class. The Romney campaign attacked the study–perhaps not surprisingly (TPC was attacked from both sides for their analysis of the 2008 campaign proposals) and then its various surrogates started attacking the credibility of the TPC.Burman, Len. (2012, August 9). GOP establishments shameless attack on nonpartisan think tank [Blog post].
  • 15. THE PLOT THICKENS… Instead of releasing “more detail,” however, Romney is trying to shoot the messenger. His campaign put out a press release denouncing the Tax Policy Center as a “liberal group” that can’t be trusted. But that’s not likely to fly considering Romney’s own aides have referred to the group repeatedly as an independent and impartial referee. One November press release from the Romney camp highlighting a study of then-opponent Rick Perry’s tax proposal called the Tax Policy Center an “objective, third-party analysis.” Other Romney press releases cited Tax Policy Center analyses of tax plans from Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as well.Sarlin, Benjy. (2012, August 1). Romney’s tight grip on information puts campaign on defensive over taxes. TPM Retrieved from
  • 18. WHO IS THIS GUY? Nathan Orlowek • “Booth researcher” • “Senior Judaic educator at Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah in Potomac, where he has worked for 30 years, Orlowek will appear in his alter ego role, Booth historian…” WHY SHOULD WE CARE? Potential exhumation of corpse = $$ REWRITING HISTORY!!Leibel, A. (2010, December 15). Captivated a Lincoln assassination History Channel segment to feature Jewish educator who believes Booth lived until1903. Washington Jewish Week.