Fox News Used Fake Online Commenters to Counter Bad Publicity
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The saying, "There's a sucker born every minute" has been kicking around since the late nineteenth century. The indomitable American "can do" attitude has made that adage an extremely lowball estimate. I watched a video clip on Crooks & Liars the other day excerpted from Cashin' In, a Fox News program hosted by Eric Bolling. It weirded me out so much I had to click on over to the Fox News website and watch the entire segment. I've never done that before. I don't have the stomach lining for Fox. But this was so compelling I had to.
But first ...
We've all received the scam email about helping a wealthy Nigerian move his millions out of the country into American banks. If you agree to help the guy out you get to keep a huge percentage of the money. But as it turns out if you believe in things that are too good to be true ... you lose. The cost to victims of these advance-fee frauds like the Nigerian bank scam went from $100 million in the U.S. in 1997 to an estimated $6.3 billion in 2008 and $9.3 billion in 2009 worldwide.
Mano Singham writing about the scam in Freethought Blogs said...
"I am pretty certain that all the readers of this blog have received similar appeals. I am also certain that all of us have been struck by the sheer crudeness of the messages that make them seem such obvious scams that only an idiot would fall for, and asked ourselves why they don't try to make it at least a little more sophisticated so that they have a better chance at success? It turns out that a computer scientist at Microsoft ... did a cost-benefit analysis and realized that this crudeness is a feature, not a bug."
The email is specifically designed to weed out
everyone who sees the appeal as an obvious scam. The con artists are trolling
for the dumbasses who believe somebody they don't know is willing to hand over a
fortune to someone they've never met.
Farther along the sucker continuum the Asch Conformity Experiments, carried out in the 50's by Dr. Solomon Asch, proved it's not that difficult to get educated people to make the wrong choice.
Asch conducted a "vision test" with eight college students. But seven of the students were "in on" the experiment. The group was shown two cards. One had three lines of differing lengths labeled A, B, and C, and the other card had one target line that was the same length as C.
Each person in the room had to state aloud which comparison line (A, B or C) was the same length as the target line. The answer was always obvious. The real participant sat at the end of the row and gave his or her answer last. Asch was interested to see what the real participant would say when the seven confederates gave an obviously incorrect answer. Even though they could clearly see the line the group picked was not the same length as the target line, on average about a third of the real participants went along with the group. Overall in the experimental group, 75% of the participants gave an incorrect answer to at least one question.
Now ... what the hell does all that have to do with Cashin' In on Fox News? I'll get there ... trust me.
Eric Bolling was joined by the Cashin' In crew: Wayne Rogers, Michelle Fields, Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Eboni K. Williams. I knew Wayne Rogers because he used to be on M*A*S*H a million years ago but I had to Google the three women to find out they're "experts" that pop up on FOX all over the place.
The week's topic? Taught to Take Instead of Make. I took notes. In 7 minutes and 43 seconds, the panel blasted out these talking points:
"Poor people were buying lobster with food stamps.
"Obama has transformed the country into an entitlement society.- Advertisement -
"All this 'free' stuff is paid for by taxpayers.
"Are you going to raise your child to be a maker or taker because the government will contradict 'maker' parents and stifle the entrepreneurial spirit in your child.
"'They' have killed motivation.
"There should be more regulatory hoops on food stamps.