WHICH PRESS RELEASES ARE BOGUS?
To keep from being fooled by ulterior motives, distrust press releases that do any of these:
- Denounce the elimination of the program that pays the source's salary.
- Turn the question into an emotional issue.
- Use scary consequences or inequities to justify removal of constitutional rights.
- Make assumptions that are impossible to prove.
- Claims that unnecessary programs (such as spending on the arts, sports, entertainment, or
recreation) are necessary.
- Give irrelevant reasons for something happening.
- Make easily refutable statements as though they were fact.
- Obfuscate evident points through jargon.
- Slant the issue with catch words or carefully chosen substitutions.
- Ask for more money to solve the problem.
- Use survey questions that would make moral people destroy the survey form.
- Use logical non-sequiturs, conclusions that do not follow from the case given.
- Claim that government can create jobs.
- Say there is only one way to solve the problem.
- Say that only government can solve the problem.
- Dismiss religious objections to policy, as obsolete, deranged, or dangerous thinking.
- Take a reduction in a planned funding increase, and call it a cut in service.
- Want everyone to make do with less.
- Support a candidate for office as the only solution.
- Complete requirements for a research grant or tenure publication.
- Give "miracle" results never seen before (or again).
- Claim results equal to the "desired results" wanted by the funding agency.
- Make up a college dissertation.
- Claim any scientific result, without disinterested independent confirmation by other
- Use slogans repeated so often that people think they're true.
- Desire to make it easier for government, at the expense of everyone else.
- Suggest taking away individual rights for the "common good." There is no such
thing, except in the minds of liberals.
- Pick at little issues while ignoring a huge inconsistency.
- Leave out essential points that show differences between good and bad plans.
- Cite use of accelerated testing methods.
- Use inbred animals as subjects.
- Provide proof that something doesn't exist. (Impossible to prove)
- Prove a case by elimination of all other known possibilities. (Other unknown
- Assume that government has no detrimental effect on the economy.
- Report results from scientific studies without control groups.
- Bully people into submission with accusations and negative sounding names. Examples:
- Politically Incorrect, Discrimination, Unfair Competition, Sweatshops, Czar,
Shackling Administrators, Legalized Slavery, Substandard Wages, Gutting the Budget,
Extremist, Nazi, Draconian Cuts, Assault Weapon, Paramilitary, Regime, Warmonger,
Corporate Welfare, Profiting From Poverty, Tax Cuts for the Rich, Survivalist,
Environmentally Unfriendly, Handcuffing Police, Anti Choice, Hamstringing Welfare,
Reactionary, Knee-Jerk Response, Homophobic, Protect the Public from Themselves,
The Common Good, The Public Good, Arts-Hater, Anti-Sports.
- Report bad statistics as fact. Bad statistical methods include:
- Sampling the wrong population.
- Wording questions in a prejudicial way (intentionally or not).
- Not checking for influences from other variables.
- Using a sample size that is too small.
- Using sampling methods that favor selection of members of one subgroup over another.
- Confusing correlation with causality.
- Making conclusions not supported by the facts.
- Abuse charts and graphs by:
- Distorting or inverting scales.
- Showing only part of the scale.
- Presenting unrelated information on the same graph.
- Tilting the graph.
- Unequal partitions (e.g. age groups: 1-20, 21-55, 55-65, 65-75, 75 up).
- Using symbol or bar length instead of area.
- Covering part of the graph with a caption or symbol.
- Caption does not agree with what the graph shows.
Here are some examples of bad releases:
- The Health and Human Services Secretary denouncing cuts in funding to her agency.
- New York City won't discard its affirmative action program, because it hasn't worked.
- Catalytic converters are the only solution to internal combustion engine pollution.
- Two cable companies in an area is unfair competition. (One company is easier to regulate.)
- Salt causes heart disease because reducing salt prevents it.
- It's dangerous to human life, because it hasn't been proven safe yet.
- 30% of the country is homosexual. (90% of heterosexuals threw away the survey form.)
- It's not a baby. It's an unviable tissue mass.
- This food has chemicals in it! (All substances are chemicals)
- Flying saucers do not exist. (Impossible to prove)
- A report that says homosexuality is hereditary was flawed in these ways:
- No control group:
- All subjects had the trait (homosexual).
- No data was taken for subjects without the trait.
- No comparison is possible.
- Using the wrong population. Testing only homosexuals proves nothing.
- Sample size too small: Only 15 subjects were studied: large error margin.
- Conclusion unsupported by the data: Only 26% tested positive for the gene.