Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lies, damn lies

I'm always interested in the many ways us humans can distort, bend, manipulate, misrepresent the truth - see my earlier rant about MarketingSpeak.

Today's edition of Techdirt has a couple of interesting items on this topic, not least of which is a discussion concerning Amazon's recent "claim" that ebooks are outselling printed books by a wide margin. The first problem is obvious, but not one that a casual reader would pick up on: Amazon says that for every 100 hardcover books sold, 180 ebooks are sold. The key word there is hardcover - most people will just see this as ebooks vs any (printed) book. Well, when some bloggers saw this blob of bafflegab, they decided to look a little deeper. Net net, it turns out that a more realistic viewpoint is that ebooks represent about 6% of the total market - nowhere near 180%!

In the same vein, but applying the misinformation notion to politics instead of marketing... is a non-partisan group that investigates the veracity of claims made by politicians. They take specific incidents, research them, and write an article about what they found - and they add a rating on their "Truth-O-Meter" as to whether it was completely true, mostly true, half-true, etc. down to "pants on fire," obviously the lowest rating! They recently noticed that Michelle Bachmann (R-Minnesota) was the worst liar of them all - six items rated "false" and five rated "pants on fire." Read about it here.

Of course, I can't resist reminding you of my earlier posts about Jan Brewer (R-Arizona Gov.) and her stupid comments about illegal immigrants - the infamous beheadings in the desert, not to mention the dessert! Here's Politifact's article on that, and here's her record.

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