Choice of fact selection will bias your communication

Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson

Last week we talked a little about the impossibility of reporting “Just the Facts.” I wasn’t actively looking for examples this week, but one just jumped up and slapped me in the face.

I followed a Twitter link to Mashable’s story entitled Kelly Clarkson’s Album Sales Down After Ron Paul Twitter Endorsement, intrigued by the headline. I knew they had reported last week that Clarkson’s sales were up following her endorsement of libertarian Ron Paul as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, although even then they focused on the “flap” rather than either the endorsement or the rise in sales. (The “flap” was about some followers who reacted badly to her endorsement. Other stories elsewhere reported a surge of over 400% in a single day, and quoted a number of tweets to her explicitly saying they had bought the album because of her endorsement. None of this was mentioned in either Mashable story.)

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