Showing posts with label Distortions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Distortions. Show all posts

February 11, 2017

Media Is Becoming The Biggest Loser

So this is an interesting poll from Emerson College:
"49% of U.S. voters believe that the Trump administration is truthful, while only 39% feel that way about the news media."

Growing up, I never thought or felt the media was biasing the news.

Frankly, it never would have occurred to me. 

Maybe, I was too innocent or naive. 

But I always thought the media's job was to "tell it the way it is."

The media's job, I understood was to be a honest broker, investigate, report, and tell all sides of the issues to help inform and educate. 

What people then did with that information was up to them. 

They would be free in a democracy to form their own opinions and see things that were presented to them through their experiences and sense of identity and justice.
But now, the world is upside down, and bias, bigotry, and prejudice is embedded in the media news itself. 

The same story on a deportation case today can be told by CNN as one of racism and cruelty to immigrants for deporting a mother of two who was "a threat to nobody" or by FOX news as one of enforcing the laws and security against an undocumented immigrant with a felony conviction for social security fraud. 

It depends what colored glasses your looking through and how you want to influence or control what the masses think and do about it. 

No wonder, people don't trust the media!

Not only were the projections based on garbage polling completely wrong in terms of who would win the election, but the reporting out of daily events is done through one-sided reporting, "alternative facts," and "fake news."

The Democrats and Republicans are duking it out, but it's the media that it getting the biggest black eye on honesty and credibility, and losing the fight for influence over the American people. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 27, 2015

Reform The Movement

So was very glad to read this week about a top Sunni cleric who called for educational reform to combat "extremist violence."

Sheik Ahmend al-Tayeb, a grand imam in Cairo said "corrupt interpretations" of the Koran and of Muhammad was leading to a rise of Middle East-based terrorism. 


This to hopefully stem the flow of what is now being reported as 20,000 foreign fighters flocking to join ISIS


What is amazing here is that good Muslim people are recognizing the problem with radicalization, extremism, and violence and are speaking out. 


Yet, many of our own leaders in the Western world still refuse to say the dirty words "Islamic terrorism."


The President saying instead: "No religion is responsible for terrorism--people are responsible for violence and terrorism."


So perhaps, according to this "logic," no movement is responsible for what their people do--only the individuals are?


And therefore, accordingly, the Nazis would not be responsible for the Holocaust, nor America for Slavery, nor Communism for political purges, oppression, and violation of human rights, etc. etc. 


...in which case, there would be no apologies, no regrets, no reparations, no museums, no memorials, nothing--because this was just some individuals doing some bad things and those individuals are may no longer even be here with us. 


Doesn't this ignore the very basic and fundamental fact that when the masses follow a movement's (genuine or distorted) ideological teachings of hatred, racism, and discrimination, and the people act act nefariously on this, then does not the movement itself hold some responsibility for the murderous and evil actions committed based on their doctrine?


The Sheik who denounced terror and called for changes to the education in the Muslim community is recognizing what apparently many of our own leaders refuse to, which is that they--and we--are responsible for what is taught and tolerated in our communities. 


As Peggy Noonan recently wrote, "The reality is that the Islamic State is...very Islamic.


Currently, we are fighting a war on radical Islamic terrorism...whether that terror is committed on Charlie Hebdo, a Jewish grocery store, or the World Trade Centers. 


That does not mean that tomorrow, we are not fighting against some other movement's treachery.


This is why good people everywhere must stand up and speak out when they see religions, governments, institutions, or other movements preach and teach lies, hatred, and terror. 


Bad (or hijacked good) movements drive bad actors...so we must not only go after the bad guys, but also hold the movements themselves to account.


We must demand that the lies and distortions be called out for what they are and that truth and virtue be held up in its place. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Front Page Magazine)

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March 22, 2009

Why We Miss the Planning Mark

We’ve all been there asking why we missed the signs while others saw them head-on and benefited in some way. This happens with financial investments (e.g. I should’ve sold before this recent meltdown like my good buddy did), business opportunities (e.g. I should’ve opened up a chain of coffee stores like Starbucks before Howard Shultz got to it), military strategy (e.g. we should’ve seen the attacks on Pearl Harbor and 9-11 coming and been better prepared to try and stop them) and other numerous “should’ve” moments—and no I’m not talking about that” I should’ve had a V8!”

Why do we miss the signs and misread information?

Obviously, these are important questions for IT leaders, enterprise architects and IT governance pros who are often managing or developing plans for large and complex IT budgets. And where the soundness of decisions on IT investments can mean technological superiority, market leadership and profitability or failed IT projects and sinking organizational prospects.

An article in MIT Sloan Management Review, Winter 2009, provides some interesting perspective on this.

“Organizations get blindsided not so much because decision makers aren’t seeing signals, but because they jump to the most convenient or plausible conclusion, rather than fully considering other interpretations.”

Poor decision makers hone in on simple or what seems like obvious answers, because it’s easier in the short-term than perhaps working through all the facts, options, and alternative points of view to reach more precise conclusions.

Additionally, “both individual and organizational biases prevent…signals from getting through” that would aid decision making.

How do these biases happen?

SUBJECTIVITY: We subjectively listen almost exclusively to our own prejudiced selves and distort any conflicting information. The net effect is that we do not fully appreciate other possible perspectives or ways of looking at problems. We do this through:

  • Filtering—We selectively perceive what we want to and block out anything that doesn’t fit what we want to or expect to see. For example, we may ignore negative information about an IT investment that we are looking to acquire.
  • Distortions—Information that manages to get through our mental and emotional filters, may get rationalized away or otherwise misinterpreted. For example, we might “shift blame for a mistake we made to someone else.”
  • Bolstering—Not only do we filter and distort information, but we may actually look for information to support our subjective view. For example, “we might disproportionately talk to people who already agree with us.”

GROUPTHINK: “a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas.” (Wikipedia)

“In principle, groups should be better than individuals at detecting changes and responding to them. But often they are not, especially if the team in not managed well, under pressure, and careful not to rock the boat.”

Interestingly enough, many IT investment review boards, which theoretically should be helping to ensure sound IT investments, end up instead as prime examples of groupthink on steroids.

Concluding thoughts:

If we are going to make better IT decisions in the organization then we need to be honest with ourselves and with others. With ourselves, we need to acknowledge the temptation to take the simple, easy answer that is overwhelmingly directed by personal biases and instead opt for more information from all sources to get a clearer picture of reality.

Secondly, we need to be aware that domineering and politically powerful people in our organizations and on our governance boards may knowingly or inadvertently drown out debate and squash important alternate points of view.

If we do not fairly and adequately vet important decisions, then we will end up costing the enterprise dearly in terms of bad investments, failed IT projects, and talented but underutilized employees leaving for organizations where different perspectives are valued and decisions are honestly and more comprehensively vetted for the betterment of the organization.

If we shut our ears and close our eyes to other people’s important input, then we will miss the planning mark.


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