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The Dog-Eat-Dog World of Misinformation

Dog_cat_petPssst.  McCain is winning in a poll.  But don't tell anyone, OK?

Which poll is it?  Well, evidently, McCain is beating Obama in a poll among pet-owners.  Yup, that's right, 42% to 37% (paws down).

What's that you say?  Who cares?  Are you kidding?!  The fate of democracy as we know it is riding with those who care for our furry little friends.  What a CAT-astrophe.  The world really is going to the dogs.

But what are these numbers REALLY telling us?  Hmmm, well, it takes responsibility to own a pet.  Does that mean that only irresponsible people like Obama?  Does that mean Obama himself is irresponsible?  After all, look at all those "Present" votes in the Senate.  Barack must be afraid to take a stand on anything.  No wonder pet-owners hate him.  (Not even I can say that one with a straight face.)

We play this game a lot with office politics, too, don't we?  We can make any piece of information sound relevant, just in the way we spin it to others.  ("By the way, did you know that HALF of the entire population is below average?")  After all, if you take a piece of information that's really true ("Susan is a really dedicated wife and mother") and turn it into a useful piece of innuendo ("If you want a really dedicated project manager, you won't be able to count on Susan"), then you've accomplished effective spin doctoring.

Dog_obamaHow do you combat this?  It's simple, just ask questions.  "Have you ever seen Susan miss a critical project milestone because of a family event?"  That generally stops the office politician dead in his tracks.  Often, she or he relies on this kind of "stretch of logic" to get their job done.  If you choose not to play along, you can accomplish your job... finding the truth.

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Comments

Jay

"There are three types of liars in this world. There are liars, there are damned liars, and there are statisticians." - Benjamin Disraeli (I think I butchered the spelling...but Tim gets the idea)...

J-

Scot Herrick

"I believe that Fred has reached the pinnacle of his job skills with this performance review."

"Fred could not have done more during this performance review period."

"Fred's work significantly impacts the rest of the team."

"Fred has learned all that he can learn in this position."

Sigh...

Timothy Johnson

Jay - I've always loved that quote.

Scot - those are awesome. What great spin. :)

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