back to article Google, propaganda, and the new New Man

Google has begun to infuse American TV and movies shows with propaganda – "good propaganda", the company insists. However, it's unlikely to please two groups who rarely agree on anything: those who think Google isn't diverse enough, and conservatives who fear its political and media power. So far, Google's "interventions" have …

  1. Nick Z

    Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people

    Even the women, who are already in the IT industry now, are leaving it in droves. Because many of them feel that they aren't being treated well.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/04/27/toxic-workplaces-technology-women-minorities-retention/100977038/

    Deceiving women, so that they will go into the IT industry, might work to some extent. But this will only damage women's lives, when they find out what it's like and decide to change careers. This is years of wasted life, where women might delay their marriage, having kids, and doing other things, just because they need to go back to school and learn another profession.

    I think it's unethical to tell women to go into the IT industry and hide from them all the problems women are having there. This is almost like deliberately harming people.

    1. Daggerchild Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people

      *MWU HA Ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaa*

      But, you see, civilisation is *made* from deceit! We tell each other lies about things being better than they are, so people arrive expecting it, or demanding it, or doing something about it, and, with sufficient numbers, they can even bring it into existence.

      Some call these lies 'dreams'. Collect enough of these, and you may call it a 'culture'.

      1. Nick Z

        Re: civilisation is *made* from deceit

        Deliberate lying leads to distrust. It damages society, because people stop trusting each other and their social institutions.

        People might mistakenly have unrealistic expectations and dreams and sincerely believe in them. And perhaps this is the kind of dreams you are talking about. But this isn't lying. This is just making an honest mistake.

        If you deceive people into entering a profession that isn't well suited for them, then eventually they might drop out of the labor market for a while, or just work part time to get by. Because they might not trust what other people will tell them about other professions.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: civilisation is *made* from deceit

          "Deliberate lying leads to distrust..."

          Sure it does. But what Google are doing is using media to influence the general idea everyone has of working in IT. If more people from different backgrounds express interest in IT that can only be a good thing. Change isn't going to happen overnight. Who knows, it might get some people who really do work in IT to alter their attitude to minorities and anyone who doesn't conform to their own stereotypes.

          And anyone choosing their career depending on a fictional depiction of it in Holywood needs their head examined.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: civilisation is *made* from deceit

          FORNICATING ELITISTS!!!

          (that's what they are)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people

      Sure, only IT is a toxic places for women to work in, other places are all heavens.... fashion, entertainment, media in general, sport, etc. all places where women are treated like princesses, and no man ever abusing of them, all perfect gentlemen.... while disgustingly creating ugly stereotypes (like the young anorexic woman...) and shamelessly using the women body and sex allure to sell everything.

      The real reason is that IT became an high paid job, and people who dismissed it for years while laughing about the "nerds" working in it now want a well paid job regardless of their skills, hence the need to cry "discrimination" continuously.

      1. Sloppy Crapmonster

        Re: Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people

        "Sure, only IT is a toxic places for women to work in, other places are all heavens"

        The comment you replied to didn't say that. Disagree, sure, but don't make shit up to argue against it, please.

      2. Nick Z

        Re: only IT is a toxic places for women to work in ....

        I'd say that this toxicity is just a symptom of something deeper going on. I think there is a problem with the way IT work is organized and done.

        I've been studying computer programming recently at school. I did a lot of group projects with my fellow students. And I was quite surprised to see that my fellow students were invariably choosing their friends and acquaintances for their team members. Nobody even tried to go after the best students in the class and try to include them in their group.

        This selection of team members wasn't merit-based at all. It was just people who knew each other always getting together.

        Perhaps that's what's going on in the IT industry as a whole. People, who know each other, are networking with each other and helping each other with jobs and promotions. It's all based on friendships and networking, rather than on merit and ability.

        In this situation, if you aren't a part of the so-called 'old boys network', then you aren't invited and you get left out.

        1. Random Q Hacker

          Re: only IT is a toxic places for women to work in ....

          Haha Nick, welcome to the real world, where it's who you know and not what you know that gets you promoted. But if you can relax a little, and GET TO KNOW your coworkers you can go far.

          Right now you're concentrating on grades and projects, but have you considered the true value of school is the connections you will make that will enrich your life? Lifelong friendships? Business connections? Trusted advisors? A pipeline of future employees? Think big, and enjoy life while doing so.

    3. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people

      "Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people"

      Only thing is, what did they say about telling a lie often enough?

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people

        Only thing is, what did they say about telling a lie often enough? ..... Charles 9

        Is there anything other that it quite clearly enough identifying a sub-prime fool, Charles 9?

        1. Florida1920

          Re: Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people

          The advertising business is built on lying. Anyone gullible enough to believe the fairy tales of television sitcoms (which are merely bookends to advertisements) is doomed to a life of junk food, overpriced, over-sized cars -- and lousy government. Of course Google is trying to make money using the tools at their command. In other Big News, the sun came up this morning.

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people

          Point is, who cares if you're lying. You can either tell it often enough that people believe you, or you can instill enough fear in people that they don't challenge you. Either way, whether you lie or not becomes irrelevant. Truth is relative, and in such a world, facts are fungible.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @NickZ Re: Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people

      The deception is not where you think it is. The last decade has seen a campaign of constant disparagement of the IT world as a haven of misogynist, unreconstructed arseholes that is intensely hostile to any woman, when the truth is that it is simply more concerned with performance than any other metric, and doesn't make allowances for gender in measuring that metric.

      Few women with a long history in tech will recognise the distorted image that the media and certain activist groups like to spread about our industry, yet after a long period in which more women were entering tech industries, this deception is now driving younger women out of and away from it; not because of harassment, but because of an unfounded fear of harassment. They've been told constantly that they will face an unending torrent of abuse at the hands of their male colleagues and that there's no effective way to stop it.

      With that lie now so entrenched, is it any wonder that women are staying away?

    5. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people

      Well I'm a man and my IT career turned out to be a fucking disappointment too. Where's my compensation?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people

      "I think it's unethical to tell women to go into the IT industry and hide from them all the problems women are having there"

      Time to inject a little dose of reality: changing the face of coding :)

    7. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people

      Au contraire, Lying is the best propaganda isasmuch as it is the only propaganda. If it isn't some sort of lie it isn't propaganda by definition

      1. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: Lying is always bad propaganda, because it deceives and misleads the people

        Propagating the Faith is where the term came from. It was designed to spread the "good word" to the heathen by the Catholic Church and was originally thought to be a "good thing", except perhaps by the "heathens" on the receiving end. The propogators often think that there is a higher purpose to their actions, others might not...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Examine your premises

    The narrative is that women are being deprived of this wonderful thing, working in IT/SV. Maybe it's not so wonderful, and they just choose something else.

    I'm here, and I know my daughters can do better.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Examine your premises

      What happens if they never even want to try because they've been Disneyfied since 2 or earlier?

      There's certainty a oversupply in princesses.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Examine your premises

        "There's certainty a oversupply in princesses."

        Yeah, but based on my experience, a lot of them are male.

  3. Teiwaz Silver badge
    Joke

    IT sector needs improving.

    We need to improve and safeguard job security, member relations and [re]training.

    We need a Guild.

    Or some sort of exclusionary left-wing collective bargaining group to push back at corporate plastic gloss.

    The kind of group you can have pride in belonging to, and that will look at half-arsed government IT projects, ill-conceived out-sourcing and shoddy IOT, purse it's lips disapprovingly, shake its head and say 'our members wouldn't touch that'.

    That'll teach em.......Who?.....ummm.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IT sector needs improving.

      While you may have said it in jest, there are many who will take you seriously.

      Those who can't will always seek protection of a guild or union.

  4. Wily Veteran

    Brave New World

    Take away the 1936 version of cloning in Aldous Huxley's chilling novel, and you have a society very much like the one he described: overseen by those who are "born to lead" (or dub themselves among them), unlimited sex divorced from reproduction, an ethos of finding calm and respite in pharmaceuticals, destruction of traditional societal structures, strict conditioning of those in the lower levels to enjoy their position and not seek anything except material goods and sex, enforced obsolescence to keep the factories humming, &c. &c. &c.

    More, in his 1960's essays "Beyond Brave New World," Huxley discusses how his Brave New World could actually come about and the methods he discusses sound chillingly famiiliar.

  5. dickon

    Rhetorical headline, I know...

    ...but the answer is: since Hollywood started doing painful crap like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8qgehH3kEQ

    If anyone can stop any more nonsense like that from being perpetrated, it's all for the good, if you ask me.

    1. Florida1920

      Re: Rhetorical headline, I know...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8qgehH3kEQ

      If anyone can stop any more nonsense like that from being perpetrated, it's all for the good, if you ask me.

      But the solution in the video is the solution: Pull.the.plug. Probably the script writer ran out of Bolivian marching powder and had a rare flash of insight.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "making computer geeks appear more attractive"

    Just using attractive women for the role? Because, we know, Hollywood like so much "diversity" that unless you fit the Hollywood stereotype for the main roles - young and attractive, you will never get the role.

    Because beyond race, gender, etc, there are also age and appearance.... if we want really to talk about "diversity".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "making computer geeks appear more attractive"

      Just using attractive women for the role?

      Well, clearly the worst sort of tokenism by the corporate spinmeisters at Google. They think that if you can control the message, you control people's opinions. To an extent it is no different to the BBC, making sure that a disproportionate number of talkng heads and interviewees are women on STEM topics, or thrusting a woman in the Dr Who role (because there's a shortage of femaile time lords, as a result of discriminatory time lord employers). Funny thing is that both Google and BBC are in hot water over their performance on gender equality and pay.

      However, the very idea that this gambit will make a difference shows what a bunch of shallow, clueless media luvvies they have doing the spinning. Few sensible people choose careers based on the fact that a pretty/handsome actor player the relevant part in some cheesy drama. Looking at the portrayal of IT people, it could be argued by the same logic that handsome, well spoken, well dressed, charismatic men are put off IT careers by these "stereotypes". Does anybody believe that? Will girls suddenly take more interest in maths, and coding at school, just because Emma Watson gets cast as a hacking genius who saves the world? Even if they do, they'll find that the topic isn't really any more or less interesting despite such media spin.

      Alternatively, Google & the Beeb spinmeisters don't expect it to make a difference in the real world, but believe that they can use this anti-stereotypical "gender placements" to counter the critics, regulators, and politicians.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      @AC ... Re: "making computer geeks appear more attractive"

      Growing up in the 70's and being first gen computer kid (those with access to computers as a child),

      I can tell you that shows like 'Halt and Catch Fire' are an attempt to gloss over the real history.

      There were women in IT, for sure. But to be brutally honest... neither the guys or gals in IT were attractive. Note: That's the rule, there were some that were the exception.

      Back then there wasn't as much money in IT. Sure as a Software Engineer, you made more than the sales guy, but you were capped and the guy in sales/marketing eventually caught up to you unless you moved in to sales/marketing or management. But you made a decent living.

      Today, everyone is an Entrepreneur and is working on their startup... ;-)

      So rewrite history because frankly, we weren't that good looking, and were usually part of some sub-cultures on the fringe.

      Geeks and Freaks was probably the first show that brought the geeks from out from under the rocks...

  7. davenewman

    Then there is professional lying

    as in South Africa, where a British PR company has been caught disseminating fake news to reracialise politics in South Africa.

    Let's make professional lying (by PR flacks, journalists and politicians) an imprisonable offence.

  8. ecofeco Silver badge

    Meh, same old same old

    The rich and powerful will always try to influence popular opinion and often suceeed.

    So what else is new?

    1. TReko
      Unhappy

      Re: Meh, same old same old

      ...and destroy the competition in any way they can. Here's how they attacked the Opera and Vivaldi browsers

      https://vivaldi.com/blog/google-return-to-not-being-evil/

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google and Diversity in the same sentence?

    If Google is so dramatically in favor of diversity, why are they so bad at it?

    Let's be honest, Silicon Valley is neither conservative nor liberal -- it's libertarian. It's run by people who sincerely believe that their wealth is a reflection of their merit, and that rich people should be able to do whatever they want. That's the explanation for companies like Google and Uber, where bro-culture is the norm just so long as nobody says it's OK out loud. The only things that are not acceptable are the ones that are bad for business.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google and Diversity in the same sentence?

      Do what the high priest says not what high priest does.

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Google and Diversity in the same sentence?

      I think "crony capitalism" is a better description than "libertarian".

  10. Dr Scrum Master

    Silicon Valley sitcom

    You keep describing the show Silicon Valley as a "sitcom".

    I caught some clips of it once and that word you keep using, I do not think it means what you think it means.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google ONLY does things that will

    be good (as in more $$$$$) for Google.

    End of.

    Once you understand that then you can get on with your life without them being a part (or as small a part as possible)

    The same can be said for Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the anti-social meda mobsters.

  12. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    GCHQ ICEnterprises to Internetional Rescue??????

    I wonder how far any Advanced Google Programs for Mass Media Presentation of Future PrimedD ProMotions are?

    Anywhere near this Deep See UKGBNI Platform do you think, a tangent of which was earlier shared and entitled as Diamonds amongst the Gold on El Reg.

    Subject: Fwd: Internets Working Source CodeXSSXXXX

    Date: 28 August 2017 at 17:44:26 BST

    To: ian.paisley.mp@parliament.uk

    Cc: michelle.oneill@mla.niassembly.gov.uk

    From: xxxxxxx

    Subject: Internets Working Source CodeXSSXXXX

    Date: 26 August 2017 at 16:44:24 BST

    To: info@ianpaisleymp.co.uk

    Ian, Hi,

    You might like to avail yourself of an AlMighty AI Force with Immaculate Sources Provided ........ with the bare bones of that Particular Peculiar and Quantum Network laying Deep Found Sound Foundations here ...... http://www.ur2die4.com … for you and yours and those who may like to try an altogether different plane for elite executive virtual mass management with all who be more than just imperfectly aware. I Kid U Not. Imperial Grand Master stuff.

    Regards,

    xxxxxxx

    Ian,

    Just covering all communication bases beta testing systems suitabilities for premium access to prime content ….. with Potent Private Pirate Intellectual Property Rights Issues on the Round Table for Spectacular Public Investment Consideration.

    And Hi, Michelle,

    This is as far as we have got here in NI.

    Regards

    xxxxxxx

    cc James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland .... who is never done calling for proaction to move things on in a moribund space and traumatised place. Let’s all see if he walks anywhere near as well as he talks.

    There a whole lotta shakin' goin' on out there, El Reg, and IT aint taking prisoners. New times and Advanced SMARTR Armoured Technologies have changed the Base DynamICQ.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: GCHQ ICEnterprises to Internetional Rescue??????

      And what is one to make of .......

      Address not found

      Your message wasn't delivered to NIOwebEditor.mailbox@nio.gov.uk because the address couldn't be found. Check for typos or unnecessary spaces and try again.

      ....... an address provided by the Northern Ireland Office itself ......... Northern Ireland Office - GOV.UK

  13. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Move along nothing to see here

    Mass media is always in the crossfire for either trying to shape society or highlighting the wrong parts of it. For example, The Archers has always seen its role as trying to shape opinions on rural life; EastEnders has been vilified for wallowing in misery. Television can inspire people whether it's Blue Peter, Robot Wars or Juliet Bravo, but only if it's good television.

    And in the States the government had a more obvious hand in trying to shape career paths with Rosie the Riveter.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Move along nothing to see here

      To see what's new here you have to move past what's familiar.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Move along nothing to see here @AndrewOrlowski

        To see what's new here you have to move past what's familiar. .... Andrew Orlowski

        Quite so, AO.

        A situation and all too apparent insurmountable difficulty for so many, both in IT circles and everywhere else too, helped by the exercise of intelligence and hindered by an absence of it.

  14. zip119

    Conflating

    The "happenings" of the hippie era were deliberately staged as community experiences. There was nothing individualistic about them. They had nothing in common with Andy Warhol's Factory, which was just a dead-eyed parody of the celebrity system.

  15. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Googe & Intolerance

    It seems to me that Google is intolerant of intolerance.

    It won't accept what it finds unacceptable.

    Is that so very different to the rest of us, for given values of what is acceptable?

  16. charlieboywoof

    Everybody lies, and my staff are idiots

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Censorship on this topic

    This is one of the topics censored at this site. Otherwise I would post, or rather try to post again, some of the hazards of hiring people based on race or gender or other discriminatory characteristics. While you get to read this you should keep in mind that this discussion is also part of "shaping" the story.

    Basically I would point out that hiring people for their DNA means that everyday they have that DNA is another day they have met the reasons they were hired.

  18. emperor of the north

    Too big and too powerful is...too big and too powerful.

  19. emperor of the north

    Too big and too powerful is....too big and too powerful. Full stop. Mike drop. Whatever.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020