Friday, August 2, 2013

The Art of Subtle Influence

I just read the following two articles posted on Facebook by a friend regarding a visit a family received by federal agents presumably after they had Googled some things which set off alarms.

Google Pressure Cookers and Backpacks, Get a Visit from the Feds

pressure cookers, backpacks and quinoa, oh my!

The articles highlights some very serious issues regarding how much freedom and privacy we as a nation are willing to relinquish in exchange for (a sense of) security. 

Though I think this is an important topic, with this blog post I would like to look at something entirely different. It has to do with this picture which is at the top of the first article. 

After reading the first article which states "Wednesday morning, six men from a joint terrorism task force showed up at their house to see if they were terrorists" I assumed, without giving it much thought, that this was a picture of the event. But then I read the second article written by the wife of the man interviewed by the agents. In it she says "Six gentleman in casual clothes emerged from the vehicles...". Hmm, casual clothes? The men above don't look so casually dressed. 

As someone who is fascinated by how humans process information, make decisions and are influenced by others, I found this to be quite interesting. I wanted to know where the picture originally came from so I ran it through a TinEye image search. It seems it is actually a picture taken during the military and police lock down of Boston while they were conducting door-to-door searches for the Boston bomber.

The story was originally sourced from the Atlantic Wire and written by Philip Bump. I don't know if Mr. Bump selects the photos to accompany his articles or if someone else does but either way someone decided to add an image which they knew did not accurately represent the situation. Kind of makes you wonder how often this sort of thing happens?

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