Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on August 17, 2012 By Draginol In Business

The more well known you are, the less control one has over the narrative. That’s why those who try to “leak” things to the media or try to manipulate the media narrative are playing with fire.  Most situations situations are fairly boring. Boring doesn’t generate page views. As a result, there is a tendency to spice those headlines up.

Brad: The Narrative

To use myself as an example, here are some facts vs. narratives I’ve read.

Issue Narrative Reality
Politics Brad Wardell is a right-wing nut. I’m fiscally conservative, socially liberal. Libertarian generally.
Glenn Beck Brad forced his company to support Glenn Beck against UPS. I’ve never watched Glenn Beck. I strongly object to corporations who try to use their advertising dollars to shut down political discourse. The answer to speech you don’t like is more speech.
Kookiness Brad is a kook I am a kook

 

The realities are, naturally, far more nuanced than what is presented. 

For example, I support gay marriage, I’m pro-choice, I’m pro-progressive taxation, I live in a net 0 emissions home (solar and geothermal), I drive a Chevy Volt that is powered via my Solar Array, the environment at Stardock is basically a nerd paradise with virtually no turn-over…

…And yet, I’m for small government, generally prefer local control, adamantly oppose attempts by others to force behavior changes (so I’m sympathetic to Chick-fil-A even though I oppose their views), dislike most welfare programs (I grew up poor so I knew plenty of people who were abusing the system), and am a AGW skeptic (even though I own a gold certified green home).

But complexity doesn’t fit narratives. Narratives are designed to build someone up and then tear them down and repeat.  

There’s probably a formula for the amount of page views that would work similar to how voltage works: Page views = Awareness * (Existing Perception – New Perception).  A villain doing something good or a saint doing something bad = dynamite. Would almost make a good game…

People: The Narrative

Sometimes the narrative can become so overwhelming that it’s hard to come back from.  This is something that I think is pretty tragic.  The Daikatana ads “John Romero is going to make you his bitch” was 15 years ago but created such a strong narrative that one can only imagine the impact that had on his career – unfairly I think.

Al Gore had to deal with the “I invented the Internet” which was a very unfair narrative but one that probably (almost certainly) cost him the election in 2000 (it wouldn’t take much). 

These kinds of sound bites are easy to make and difficult to extinguish when they get off into the wild.

What we can do about it

The best thing we can do is try to amplify our own critical thinking. Be aware of the motivations of the media. The people who work there are usually very good people with a lot of integrity. But at the same time, it is a business that lives and dies on page views. Be wary of what you read, particularly the headline part. People are complex creatures, don’t try to pigeon hole someone into a stereo type.


Comments (Page 1)
on Aug 17, 2012

"I’m fiscally conservative, socially liberal. Libertarian generally."

 

I swear this represents me and most of the people I hang with, but damn, I don't think we'll ever see a politician elected to a major office along that line.

on Aug 17, 2012

It's almost impossible to get elected with that view because each side will demonize you as a crazy "left wing" or "right wing" nut.

on Aug 17, 2012

2 wings nut?

on Aug 17, 2012

Draginol
It's almost impossible to get elected with that view because each side will demonize you as a crazy "left wing" or "right wing" nut.

While both established parties are certain to attack (in the most repulsive manner possible), the 'almost impossible' to being elected is more related to a lack of candidates and established/elected politicians of that party at all levels, I believe, and even if elected, that lack would insure that his/her agenda would be frustrated.

on Aug 17, 2012

Yeah, it's becoming pretty sad nowadays when I have to fact check everything I read. Especially frustrating because I know a lot more people that are "purple" voters (like myself) rather than straight red/blue. If only we could vote on policy a la carte and not bundled in a giant red or blue package.

on Aug 17, 2012

I kinda liked the narrative that had me as a 'fascist bastard admin'....

 

Oh, wait....that's reality.

My bad ....

on Aug 17, 2012

jackswift85
Especially frustrating because I know a lot more people that are "purple" voters (like myself) rather than straight red/blue. If only we could vote on policy a la carte and not bundled in a giant red or blue package.

Are you trying to solve the deadlock problem in Congress?

Are you trying to get a system which actually functions on common sense?

You've probably just violated 1,000 or so laws.

I hope you can run swiftly, jackswift85.

 

on Aug 17, 2012

Occasionally, the narrative and reality jive, Paul.

on Aug 17, 2012

Man, I like the narrative there Brad--do you mind if I quote it sometimes to people in RL as an example?

...and I love the idea of a la carte voting.

on Aug 17, 2012

Bahaha. You're socially liberal, but you consider the Sith Empire to be morally superior to the Jedi?

on Aug 19, 2012

Michael Bloomberg would make an excellent Sith.

on Aug 20, 2012

I see where you're coming from. Member of a historically persecuted religious minority. Opponent of term limits...

But he seems too forgiving. He's ruled the evil empire for a decade without summarily executing anyone.

on Aug 20, 2012

I won't say what I would normally say as I thought religon and politics was frowned upon in the forum and theres no way I could add anything without at least touching on politics.

on Aug 20, 2012

zigzag
He's ruled the evil empire for a decade without summarily executing anyone.

I'll have you know I've executed several......

Oh, wait.....you were meaning someone else.....

 

on Aug 20, 2012


Quoting zigzag, reply 12He's ruled the evil empire for a decade without summarily executing anyone.

I'll have you know I've executed several......

Oh, wait.....you were meaning someone else.....

 

Jafo - "The Sith with a heart of gold." 

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