Thursday, September 18, 2008

A House on Fire

(AP) Major news outlets have written such fact-checking articles for years. "But in the last two election cycles, the very notion that the facts matter seems to be under assault," said Michael X. Delli Carpini, an authority on political ads at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication. "Candidates and their consultants seem to have learned that as long as you don't back down from your charges or claims, they will stick in the minds of voters [a.k.a. moron sheeple] regardless of their accuracy or at a minimum, what the truth is will remain murky, a matter of opinion rather than fact."

Other research indicates that attempts to correct misinformation are unlikely to change minds. In an experiment by two academics, volunteers were given a mock news article with potentially misleading information – half with a correction, half without. The researchers discovered that the group that received the correction may end up believing the misleading information more strongly after hearing the correction.

"The argument we make in the paper is that people are counterarguing in their heads,” says Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Duke University and one of the researchers. "They're coming up with reasons to disagree with the factual claim, and actually convincing themselves more than they would have believed otherwise."

Apparently, my reputation preceded me...

Knocking on the Lying Man's front door, he flew into a rage the minute he saw me. "I know you! You're that lying little prick trying to bring everybody down. I've read your blog and I tell you I'll not stand here and listen to you impugn my integrity and trouble my thoughts. I sleep well in my bed and intend to keep it that way. The world is fine!"

"Can you just forget the messenger for a minute and listen to the message-"

"Never! Be beautiful if you want me to believe you."

"- I'm just trying to tell ya, someone spilled a shit load of gasoline back behind your house and it's caught fire - and it's headed straight for you!"

"Enough of your nonsense of doom and gloom! What could a loser like you possibly know about taking care of a home? The only thing people like you want to do is tear other peoples' lives down, to pull them into the same hellish hole you live in. I'll decide what's best for this house, not you."

"I'm not saying I'm not fucked up - I'm not saying I don't want to do all those things. But sometimes, it's easier for people on the outside to see things. You have to believe me or you're going to die!"

"Have to? I'll tell you about 'have to'! I've got a family in here - a wife and two small children. They have this nice home because of me. Every day I do what it takes to make life good for them no matter how much it kills me. You know nothing of that kind of sacrifice."

"Maybe not, but I know about the approaching fire. It's just a simple fact!"

"You want to know what the facts are? The fact is taking care of my family is the number one priority of my life. No so-called 'reality' comes before that. And if you think someone like you is going to force me out of my home you've got another think coming! I'm not going to endanger innocent little children for your sick enjoyment. You better pray to God for help!"

"Yes, it's true I'm jealous of your home and family and your wife's hot legs but -"

"Aha, I knew it! A man of impure motives! Everything you say is a lie!"

"But you don't have to take my word for it! See, it's so close now you can smell it for yourself."

Finally, the Lying Man paused, took in a whiff of the smoke and smiled serenely. "Yes, yes, I smell it." His eyes were far away and glassily enraptured. "It smells like...victory."

Later, after the house and all inside it burned to the ground, I found out it was the Lying Man himself who had spread the gasoline around - manifesting his troubles on his inside to the outside. When questioned by his neighbors about the dubious nature of such an insane act, the guilty man told them it was OK because he was smart enough to lie about.

And now you know why I hate telling you fuckers anything...

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