Friday, October 24, 2008

An Example of how you can SpinSpot Errors of Omission

I was reflecting about the post below ("ABC News Columnist 'Embarassed to be a journalist'") and how SpinSpotter can go past the spin-words on a page and better address stories that the media is not covering, what we might call Selective Disclosure, and how we can draw attention to omitted facts in automated form. Those things are on our road map filed under v-next. In geek-speak: something we want to do. Then it occurred to me that, in the same way that people teach our SpinBot what spin looks like when they mark up a story, users have already begun to point out errors of commission. I wanted a really quick example and remembered a piece I did some work on along with other SpinSpotters (you'll see their markers as well). The New York Times displayed a delicious spin-phrase as the reporter wrote:

Once, the artist formerly known as Barack Obama, the slim, smooth-faced fellow with the close-cropped hair and the trumpet of a voice would riff on 14 varieties of hope and propel crowds higher and higher until he sent them spinning out into the night ready to change the world. Teleprompters were for the earthbound.

I created a marker on the phrase "Teleprompters were for the earthbound" and used the SpinRule Reporter's Voice to describe this case of Spin which has subsequently been voted up to the highest Spin-Rating (5) and has entered into our SpinBot---in the unlikely event that the phrase somehow reappear on a page we scan, we'll tag it.

I copied a technique I picked up from another users (hat tip to "TMills"): I provided a link to a YouTube video showing Senator Obama speaking sans Teleprompter and asked the reader to judge for themselves whether it was hyperbolic to claim --as the Times Reporter had-- that Senator rarely or never used Teleprompters before this stage of the campaign. Here is the SpinSpotter article extract. You'll need Spinoculars to see the marked up original article.

When you see errors of omission you can use similar annotation to add links to where those stories are covered. Specific to the case below, if you believe the media has chosen not to interview Ayers --and, to be fair, he may refuse interviews so as not to add to the controversy if he wants Senator Obama elected-- then you use the SpinRule "Selective Disclosure" and add links to, in that case, the most recent Ayers interviews which disclose, at least, the man's most current public statement. It wouldn't be an interview about his alleged ties to Senator Obama but it may be more disclosure than the media may have provided on whom Ayers is now.

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