It’s no wonder that in the day and age that we live in, where we are bombarded with information every minute of our lives, clashing opinions and viewpoints can confuse and make us apathetic about a number of topics. The recent debate over the condition and future of our planet has experts from all sides presenting us with the ‘facts’ of the case, and how we should go about dealing with such an issue. Different media outlets are keen on using different strategies to cater to specific sides of the argument:
1) By presenting opinion as fact. (video)
It is quite obvious to see that Fox News holds a lot of sway in the realm of public opinion, their methods of doing so however, can be quite sinister. While the majority of programming on the network is quite rightly labelled as news, the opinions of TV personalities are oftentimes inserted in the broadcast, making it very difficult to distinguish them. In this clip from 2010, we can see how easily it is to be swayed by complete speculation.
2) Using straw man arguments, (misrepresentation of an opponent’s position).
This video explains the technique of how the straw man argument can be used in a debate about climate change. Once again, this clip from Fox News shows how they can employ this type of argument, going as far as bringing in an unrelated topic and catching their interviewee off guard
3) Abusing the recency effect to enflame public opinion.
-The recency effect holds that people will subconsciously consider more recent news to be more powerful than events that happened farther in the past. For example, the disastrous events of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the constant media coverage that followed dramatically reduced the support for offshore drilling, overshadowing the 40-year period without a spill. Another example of the short-sightedness of the media can be found in the first video link, where a recent large snow storm is used to disregard claims of climate change.