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More Dumbing Down the Public
« on: 2006-08-08 01:29:23 »
Inside Track v25n13
By John C. Dvorak
Dumbing Down the Public Dept.:
The ubiquitous press release now seems to be the number one source of information, according to a disturbing report by a group of researchers studying Web search behavior. Not mentioned in the report is the unusual way in which press releases have bypassed their initial function: to provide basic information to a reporter. Now these things go directly to the consumer, who probably thinks that they represent true news rather than being puffed-up announcements coming directly from the companies. Curiously, one analyst thought that people were reading these things because they were "shorter and pithier," which is a laughable assertion. Press releases tend to be long-winded, full of ludicrous quotes from the CEO bragging about himself and the company, along with all sorts of pie-in-the-sky proclamations.
Probably the closest thing that we can find in the real world to match a press release is the kind of daily newspaper story produced in dictatorships, where the local top dog is always referred to as something like "our great and wonderful blessed leader." It's a laugh. This sort of shift was bound to happen as corporations crank out numerous simple press releases that are easily accessible through search engines. Meanwhile, the big news organizations have shot themselves in the foot by using content management systems that do not allow for the easy searching of their archives. Nobody has paid any attention to this issue. Adding to the problem (and further blocking search engines), many news sites stupidly require registration. Thus the easy-to-access press release that is filled with fluff rises to the top when people conduct a Web search. And thus the public is further buffaloed by malarkey, thanks to media ineptitude. This is not rocket science, folks.
PS--Keep that 3rd from last line forefront in mind when using the web for anything folks:
"fluff rises to the top when people conduct a Web search"
Peace, Discovery and Laughter to all fellow Virians