Facebook is kind enough to remind me every single day of what I wrote last year… on this exact day. A rolling one-year reminder of what I posted.
It’s interesting… to see where my mind was at, and what may have changed. Some of it is still very relevant. Some of it is so incredibly out of date; who knew.
In any event, it’s also convenient… on days like this, where I didn’t have any time to actually sit down and write something… so I will simply plagiarize myself a bit… and if some of this sounds familiar as you read it, thanks… it means you’ve been here almost as long as I have. In light of the conflicting vaccine news we’re getting these days, it’s as relevant as it was last year.
Consider this sentence: Over 20% of people tested positive.
Now consider this one: Only 20% of people tested positive.
Without even knowing what we’re talking about… without even knowing if testing positive is a good thing or a bad thing… like, perhaps we’re talking about infections. Perhaps we’re talking about antibodies. Perhaps we’re talking about random drug testing in your office. Perhaps we’re talking about cyclists and performance-enhancing drugs. Perhaps we’re talking about asking random people on the street what their outlook is for the future.
We don’t yet have a clue what we’re talking about, but the very first word of that sentence is already guiding your thought process. Better stated, the writer of that sentence (that’d be me) knows what he wants you to think, and is subtly suggesting it. I want you to agree with me. Maybe I want you to think that anything under 20% is fine. Or maybe I want you to think that anything over 20% is bad. But wait a minute, what if testing positive is a good thing? Then it’s the other way around.
Let’s take out those first words… what are you left with…. “20% of people tested positive”
Yeah… now what. What are you supposed to do with that? Think for yourself and decide? Indeed, the vast majority of content we consume these days is written more towards getting you to think a certain way, or agree with a certain viewpoint — than to simply present the information. And further to that, once the algorithms have figured out what you like to think/read, they’ll spoon-feed you those sorts of stories… mostly because they know you’ll click on them, and that’ll generate ad revenue for them. This has pretty-much nothing do to with conveying news.
“Shockingly, close to 1 in 100,000 people who’ve taken the AZ vaccine will develop blood clots!!!”
“An insignificant number – less than 1 in 100,000 AZ vaccinations — will lead to blood clots.”
Happy Stars Wars Day… May The 4th be with you… and may it empower you with The Force of critical thinking.