Spot the Spin
The Fun Way To Keep Democracy Alive and Elections Honest
Perfect Bound Softcover
Political officials, in power or out of power, promise what pleases the people. Their advisors add more spin. The media still more. In office they turn away from the people and quietly pay off financial backers big time. When mainstream media catch up with this, call it lying or corruption, they give it a quiet burial. Few learn what occurred until long after the fact.
The media can pronounce a candidate "unelectable". Not wanting to throw away their vote, many turn away. But, wait a minute! Regardless what the media says, if enough voters decide to go for a candidate, then he or she is the one elected. Now if the people knew that many others besides themselves were leaning to the candidate, they could bypass the media and get the candidate they like elected. But if good polling is not quick, available and understandable to the public, then the candidate elected is the media's candidate, not the people's choice.
Once you know a little about how the system works, and how to tell a good poll from a bad poll, spotting the spin in polls, in political punditry and in media can be fun.
Alan F. Kay is experienced at uncovering the true will of the people through surveys done by the Americans Talk Issues(ATI) Foundation which he founded. Dr. Kay invested $2 million on 32 of these nonpartisan surveys beginning in 1987.
- ATI was created as the first independently funded, public interest polling organization, to determine what Americans really believed about the most significant issues facing their country in the late twentieth century.
- The ATI public interest polling project - and the wider adoption of this methodology to facilitate the process of representative democracy- remains one of his primary interests.
Experiences which influenced Dr. Kay's interest in public interest polling:
- As a Japanese language interpreter in the Army of Occupation in Tokyo in 1946 saw what was happening. Allies Soviet Union and China became adversaries, Southeast Asia (Vietnam), previously of little interest, became an area which had to be saved from communism, and our former enemies rapidly were transformed into client/supplicants and later into allies.
- Made early contributions to Chaos Theory. (Dr. Kay received a PhD in mathematics from Harvard University in 1952.)
- Co-founded a military research and development firm (1954-1963). Here, he invented the "scalar feed" for microwave antennas, the heart of most microwave communications systems in use today, as well as designed and built the first feed for the 1000-foot radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. His experience working for the military taught him that at least 30% of the military budget went into waste, inefficiency and acquisition of weapons for purely political reasons.
- Developed the first realtime, multi-terminal networked computer system for financial institutions from 1966-1979. Significantly, Dr. Kay's company, AutEx, was offering interactive, networked stock trading services to brokerage houses and financial institutions, including the first commercially available e-mail, two months before a consortium of five universities started using the military system which ultimately became the Internet.
- Beginning in 1978, an investor and board member in start-up companies pioneering energy efficiency, pollution clean-up technologies, and e-commerce.
Dr. Kay's long-term experience with the ATI project also makes him a formidable critic of the poorly designed or implemented "polls" so dear to the hearts of professional politicians and their spinmeisters. As an insider in the arcane world of "push polls," "focus groups," and "wedge issues," he can tell us how to spot a bad poll, what is needed to make a good poll, and why we should respect a good one. With todays telecommunications capability, he believes the American people should be voting frequently on issues and less frequently on political candidates.
Perfect Bound Softcover