Saturday, March 24, 2007

Transmission cluster analysis

On the McNeil/Lehrer News Hour last night, a report from Iraq showed Iraqi families, kicked out of their homes by US soldiers in Bagdhad. This is clearly a violation of their Human Rights, but, in this environment, no one is going to help them. A reporter asked a soldier about this, quite clearly, but the soldier changed the subject, quite unconsciously, and started talking about how brutal was the existence of these families ... the ones he had just brutalized further ... In one sense, he's just doing his job, and wants to think about what he's doing in a positive light. We all do this, when we're being paid to do someone else's bidding. But, in another sense, he had internalized the "talking points" mentality coming out of the executive branch in Washington DC. He'd internalized the company line.

This is why I think some kind of automatic analysis of these "company lines", mined from the data on the web, is possible. Combinations of talking points are like markers of the origin of a line of thinking. The linguistic residue in replicated ideas could allow us to map global thought.