Wednesday, October 27, 2021

BIG Mouth

Top 5 Ways Mainstream Media Pull The Wool Over Our Eyes

5.  Data mining and algorithms give us highly customized content ... which is why a lot of us believe that we are quite knowledgeable about certain topics, even though we are almost exclusively exposed to material that reinforces narrow-minded bias. Our myopic viewpoints then set us up perfectly to engage in destructive communication.   4.  24-hour news cycle – there simply are not enough amazing stories happening every day, so media outlets that produce a lot of content daily...

Reaching agreement in a polarized world

Back in April, BIG Media published an excellent three-part series by Laurie Weston on science – its methods, its ethics, and its manipulation on public platforms today. Science – there is method to the madness, Manipulating science – activism and advocacy, Science and morality – ethics and judgment.  Her articles reinforced for me that science is very dynamic – ever changing, ever being improved, and ever needful of critical review and discussion. Many articles that Laurie,...

Not a fan of fanning the flames of division

This morning on CBC Radio 1, I heard the mayor of Vancouver refer to protesters of the incoming (for B.C.) vaccine passport as "kooks" among other disparaging remarks. How can the mayor of one of Canada's largest cities think that it is acceptable to fan the flames of division? Of course, he is one of many North American politicians to take the position that the vaccinated majority rule the high moral ground, while those who...

Analysing the difference between government announcements and scientific findings

Every day, it seems that there are more and more people in my network who accept the words of our politicians and chief medical officers as definitive facts. I find this perplexing, to say the least. This is not a condemnation of the public officials' actions; I would not want to be in their shoes, facing myriad, daunting challenges that come with navigating the current crisis ... and some of their messages are indeed factual. However, it...

The truth is out there – and this is how we do it

As I constructed the business plan for a truth/respect-focused platform, I had countless people tell me that it is impossible for a media company to be objective in its reporting. I beg to differ. While it is impossible to completely eliminate bias, our business model uniquely positions BIG Media (yes, there is irony in the company name) to present spin-free, factual information on the big issues. With that in mind, I present ... The Top 11 Ways...

BIG Media birth – stranger then (non-)fiction

As children, a lot of us were told to avoid talking to strangers. Thankfully, I never really took to that lesson. At 10 p.m. on Dec. 28, 2019, after a full day of writing, I popped in to Earls restaurant in southwest Calgary to have a late pint and watch my favourite TV show "Raptors in 30", a condensed version of Toronto's basketball game versus the Boston Celtics played earlier that evening. It was a busy night at...

Waging war on hypocrisy

Gasoline prices are on the rise across North America, but the trend is offset by the fact that talk is cheaper than ever. One does not have to scroll too far down a social media feed to see someone complaining about the price of gasoline. Often, it is a person who has earlier decried the oil and gas industry for its supposedly evil ways. Hmm. It seems to me that someone who wants our society to...

The race we do not want to win

A friend recently questioned me about the BIG Media site not having a lot of fresh news content every day. I replied, "Yes, while our competitors pump out tons of low-integrity, sensationalized content on the high-pressure, click-bait-driven 24-hour news cycle, we prefer to publish stories when they are ready, usually after exhaustive research." We will never win the volume race, but we will consistently come out on top in quality of content. We can do that...

Nudge and the uneasy pursuit of context and objectivity

On June 12, Alberta (Canada) Premier Jason Kenney announced a multimillion-dollar lottery scheme to encourage more people to get COVID vaccines.He said, "Many places around the world have launched similar lotteries like this because we need to just nudge those who haven't gotten around to getting their vaccines yet." The appropriateness of that nudge is now the subject of spirited debate on various platforms. This article explores the uses of nudges to affect behaviour and how that...

Mother of suicide victim implores adults to look for new signs of trouble

I received a heart-wrenching message from a woman in my LinkedIn network recently. “Susan” said that she has been frustrated with the lack of coverage of mental health issues in the media, and asked if I could help. I promised to write about it, and I will start by sharing her story. Individual names have been changed to protect privacy. Susan lost her 20-year-old daughter Amber to suicide six months ago. Her daughter was the third...