Concerning the Neil Cavuto comment that Eben mentioned:

I'd like to use this thread to track the propaganda that media outlets are stuffing down our throats in light of the financial crisis. I think such a thread relates to this course in a broad sense, since Eben has mentioned that a major goal of the status quo is to convince us that a "Free Software" society is simply out of the question. By tracking how the media creates propoganda in the context of the financial crisis, I think we can get a flavor for the media's general propaganda techniques. This general understanding of media propaganda techniques will help us to combat such techniques when they are used in internet-related contexts.

To get things started, I have seen FoxNews anchors denounce the bailout by suggesting that it amounts to social-democracy (they use the word "socialism"). In effect, the anchors classify the bailout as categorically evil, simply because it rings of social democracy. Of course, the point of such comments is to convince (or remind) the viewer that the social democratic viewpoint is simply not legitimate in the United States. (Example here, at about 3:50)

  • In the United States, or to their audience?

-- AndrewHerink - 27 Sep 2008

What I find most interesting about the financial crisis is that it gives the media what they've always wanted and never gotten. Most media spin today, in the world of a thousand 24-hour news channels, involves making or blowing out of proportion a relative non-story. Ellen had her dog taken away? Let's all discuss for three days. There is a minor food recall? Let's fill the channels with pundits talking about what could have happened.

The financial crisis is a real, honest-to-god story, what actual journalists (and not mere pundits or TV personalities) would sell their first-born for. I'd not find it out of the question for the spin machine to use its power to keep the story going as long as possible, trying to push the urgent need for a bailout and at the same time trying to sow fear of a hurried bill that gives the Fed or the banks carte blanche. It is in the media's interest for us to be talking about this come January.

-- JohnPowerHely - 02 Oct 2008

This article from the NYT print edition might be of interest to you, about two guys who are trying to create an application to evaluate media bias. Their app is called "SpinSpotter" ( and already has tagged a bunch of stories concerning the markets.

-- StephanieLim - 19 Oct 2008

I am leery of the spinspotter. It supposedly uses "an advisory board of prominent journalists from across the political spectrum who set objective rules for what constitutes 'spin'." If our assumption is that the media is biased, the media's defintion of "spin" may end up biased as well.

Nevertheless, if somehow properly calibrated, spinspotter might be a great resource.

-- AndrewHerink - 22 Oct 2008


This other article is kind of funny because it seemed so anti-propaganda at first. It's a middle-of-the-road white woman as the protagonist...but even though she's in horrible debt and such, she's portrayed as a victim of data mining targeting debtors.

-- StephanieLim - 22 Oct 2008