Abundant Michael: Language

How neutral is "wickedpedia" or any media and how to spot the spin behind the story?

Interesting article below on how some wicked folks edits a few wikipedia articles for profit or to promote a certain agenda.  I agree taking all information sources (wikipedia, blogs, company websites, government websites, newspapers, books) with some thought of who wrote this and what did they want to gain from spreading the information is wise.

In my experience most of the articles on Wikipedia are good and when wacky edits are put in they are quickly fixed. There is usually an interesting discussion in the Talk page for the article too if you want to read about controversial "facts". In addition you can see the entire edit history of every article to see who contributed what and when. Try doing that with a newspaper or print book!

In my career on both sides of the media fence - doing press releases and articles for my company, talking with other editors and writers and running events that had advertizers and content contributers I will tell you that approximately 90% of news in quality newspapers is placed public relations. Someone had an angle or spin on the story and wanted it published. And the editor had an insatiable demand for good content and when a PR agency, company, government official, celebrity, scientist or author gives them a well written article (aka press release) they will use it. Editors work under deadlines every week and have pages of content to fill. Sure if the paper has the budget and a conscience they will do fact checking. But the spin remains baked into the article.

When I have read though a newspaper such as the New York Times or UK Independent and ask myself "Who is benefiting from having this particular article published?" the spin and press release behind it often becomes clear. Try it next time you read a newspaper. You may be surprised.


I always take Wiki with a grain of salt knowing that the editing is open to the public, people can put any rubbish up even if subject to scrutiny. However it's still useful as an initial reference if you have absolutely no knowledge of a subject or a word

Why be nice online?

I am pretty careful what I say in email and online to not be hurtful or mis-communicate and sometimes I forget. So this blog post by Evernote and Getting Things Done writer Daniel Gold was a great reminder.

I would also add that not just the words in email matter but the tone does too and even the intent behind the email. I was happy to discover a few years ago that I could communicate my intent behind the words and it would be picked up at some level by the reader of the email...

I would also add that just like the old time attorney who didn't like angry faxes, if I am feeling upset an in person talk or phone call is a much better way to clear up the situation than an email.

Feeling the Energy

I have been interested in Feng Shui for years and reorganized and repainted my home a few years ago based on Feng Shui. It certainly helped improve the energy feeling of my place. My host in Bolivia, Jamila, also has an interest in Feng Shui and other spiritual matters. This week we went to a guided meditation (in Spanish) at the Kryon Center. While I only understood about 50% of the words I still got the energy behind the meditation and felt wonderful afterwards.


Reminds me of when I first took yoga classes in Netherlands 20 years ago and had to watch the other student's poses to know fully what to do -- and then in the guided deep relaxation I just followed the gist of what the instructor said and went with the tone of her voice. Goes to show that most of the content of what we say is in the tone and body language and not the words! I would also these days add that the intent behind the words matters too - which is something I hope you can feel in this blog post. :-)

Translation help from Google

I just learned some new feature of Google Translate http://translate.google.com/

  • Translate words or sentences at http://translate.google.com/
  • Translate webpages using the Google Translate toolbar
  • Translate in regular Google Search box by using the keyword "translate" at the front of your search string.
  • Translate Google search result with the translate link
  • Over 50 languages are supported!


It seemed to do a good job translating the meaning. For a professional translation you would still want a human to review and edit the text.


Who's in charge of your TV set?

I haven't watched TV news or listened to radio news for about 3 years
now. I do sometime read headlines in the Washington Post when I am
grocery shopping. But my main news source is what friends and coworkers
are talking about. If it is big news then I hear about it. (I used to
spend an hour a day reading the Post cover to cover plus CNN, PBS news.
I guess I was a news junkie!)

So I found this article by Joe Vitale about new and a new positive only news website
Joe Vitale wrote:
> As you probably know, I'm not a
> fan of mainstream news.
> Why?
> It's generally 99% negative and fear based.
> Not to mention, most of the news has very
> little impact on your daily life, unless you
> choose to engage and consume it, which
> doesn't feel good at all.
> Why invite it in to begin with?
> This is not the "Outer Limits." You are in
> complete control of your television set.
> With that said, I am a major fan of reading
> and consuming positive and inspirational
> books, news, press and headlines. For me
> this is an inspiring process that helps foster
> creativity and success.
> This morning I read a batch of the latest
> testimonials and case studies from my Miracles
> Coaching students. Wow - talk about a jolt of
> inspirational adrenaline. My coaching students
> are taking the expression "Dare Something Worthy"
> to new heights.
> One particular case study really caught
> my eye, as it seemed to truly embody
> taking immediate action on an inspired idea.
> Inspired largely by my book "The Attractor
> Factor", one of my miracles coaching students
> developed a "positive news" website.
> Yep. This site has nothing but positive news
> relating to business, politics, health, science,
> entertainment and more. You can see it here --
> http://www.positivenewz.com
> Now that's a news site worth visiting.

They have an old saying in newspapers that "if it bleeds it leads". I take to mean that violence, conflict and fear tend to make it to the front page or leading stories. This is even more true of TV, which is a more emotional medium.

I do like some radio shows such as This American Life which goes into non=leading stories.

Perhaps if you contact the website with you idea for actionable news they would be interested.

If you don't already read it you might check out Yes magazine http://www.yesmagazine.org/

"Concerned with building a more just, sustainable, and compassionate future with articles about economic alternatives and peace options."

I also watch spiritual cinema circle DVDs as a way to find uplifting movies and documentaries. http://www.spiritualcinemacircle.com/

Does any one have any other positive magazines, website or shows they can recommend?

Framing the debate

Recently a friend suggested renaming "Global Warming" to "Climate Chaos".  Michael Rios wrote:

"Who doesn't like being warm?  And when the warming is
just a couple of degrees, who can tell the difference between 76 degrees and 78? None of these are likely to generate concern in the average listener.

The issue that matters isn't temperature itself; it is the consequences of those changes that are important. So while "global warming" is technically correct, better and more meaningful framings would have been "global climate instability" or "climate chaos."

Framing the debate by choosing what you call the issue is a key way to win a debate before you start. It is something that right wing issue groups have been doing well for years now, using NLP to help frame issues. Perhaps it is time for left wing groups to start using this technology more. Perhaps it is time to email Al Gore and suggest a reframe for global warming like the one Michael Rios gave above

"Strange title for a New York Times bestseller, isn't it, but this little book has lit a fire under the Democratic party which had no idea how it lost the last election. The author, George Lakoff, is a linguist. He studies language and how it works in society and especially inside of our heads.

In this 120-page book, Lakoff argues that the Republicans won by framing the debate about everything in the election. And framing is so powerful a tool that it got people to vote for Bush and against their own self interest. "Many Americans voted their moral identity and values, often at the expense of the economic interests." Such is the power of framing.

Howard Dean, in the foreword, says: "Language matters. Americans who want to be first to set the agenda need to be quick, and must understand the use of language."

Whether you're a politician running for election, a corporate leader trying to shift the corporate direction, or just a parent trying to orient your children, you might want to learn more about framing and reframing.

From http://www.qimacros.com/knowwareezines/200509Framing.html

More on framing at http://www.renewal.ca/nlp20.htm

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