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Note: This linkpost aims to spark discussion along the lines of moral misdirection, and present a few of my quick takes on Media Moral Misdirection referred to in the original post. I do not know sufficient about the topic so free to let me know if there is anything important that I missed or misrepresented, or share your own views on the topic. 

Recently, I read @Richard Y Chappell's post on Moral Misdirection and found it quite interesting. The main idea of moral misdirection, according to the post, is "Moral misdirection, as it interests me here, is a speech act that functionally operates to distract one’s audience from more important moral truths. It thus predictably reduces the importance-weighted accuracy of the audience’s moral beliefs". Essentially, moral misdirection to my understanding is redirecting an audience to less important truths rather than focusing on what might (objectively) matter more.

I hope to start some form of a follow-up discussion on the topic, so feel free to share your thoughts. To begin, here are some of my quick takes where I particularly focus on Media Moral Misdirection and the example that was brought up in the original post:

My Quick Takes on Media Moral Misdirection

  • Our attention span is something  news sources and journalists fight to seize and leverage. The more interesting or scandalous a piece of news is, the more compelled we are to know more, watch more, and read more. Honestly, this is a huge reason why the spread of misinformation and disinformation has proliferated: news sources take advantage of this fact to present us with even more "scandalous" news, just so we contribute more to their profits and earnings regardless of whether there is "truth" to the information they are spreading. 
  • I would say this in general is an example of moral misdirection because by exaggerating things or deliberately making something sound a lot more intense and important than it actually is, it takes away our focus from more pressing issues. 
  • The post mentioned "scandals tend to absorb our attention in ways that are vastly disproportionate to their objective importance", indicating that news sources tend to blow things out of proportion and exaggerate their importance in order to appeal more to us and our attention spans. 
  • An example outlined in the post was during the 2016 US elections when Hilary Clinton's drew controversy by using a private email server for official public communications. The news had amplified the importance and scale of this, playing it as the #1 issue during the elections, which a lot of people disagreed with. This, however, can be an example of redirecting our attention towards information that may be nowhere near as important as something else (something more tame that people aren't as compelled to read about).
  • I agree with how moral misdirection can reduce how accurately people understand truths, especially if certain truths are exaggerated or minimized - both deliberately and unintentionally - as it overall affects the perception and perspectives of the public. This is particularly evident in media coverage where less important issues are often highlighted at the expense of more significant ones. 





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