Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Dark Side of Bias

Recognizing facts and evidence of freshness are only two of the filters fluent readers must apply to digital information. Another type is author subjectivity or bias, of which, propaganda is a more extreme form.

Propaganda, as described on the Information Fluency site, is the "dark side of bias:"
"Propaganda is the dark side of bias. Propaganda techniques are designed to influence opinion by manipulating the truth. A propagandist is completely biased in favor of some point of view.
"Knowing propaganda techniques will help you analyze webpages, understand advertising, and recognize bias when you see it.
"Authors who use name-calling and strive to evoke fear are using tried and true propaganda techniques. Appealing to the group, using glittering generalizations, and relying on testimonials are very persuasive techniques, especially if the audience is unaware of how propagandists operate."  Source

Here's a new resource, Mind Over Media, that your students may find engaging, since they can upload instances of suspected propaganda and have others react to it. There are also examples that may be used for teaching.

Not to recognize propaganda puts the reader at risk of becoming an unwitting pawn:
Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.
-Garth Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell  Source: Propaganda and Persuasion

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