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The item mentions a few of the recent reports of zombie road signs. And then it says, “Authorities were puzzled over how pranksters could have reprogrammed the road signs”, and then “the choice of imaginary danger may reflect the hard economic times…last fall, data posted by the science fiction blog io9.com suggested that the number of zombie-themed movies released tends to spike in period of national trauma.”
Part of what’s going on in the Times article, though, is also a performance of respectability, an attempt to construct what it is that serious people know and think. Serious people aren’t supposed to have paratextual knowledge of zombie tropes or of the practice of pranksters. So a practice which is in some sense quite easy to explain (both the how and the why) gets an alchemical makeover and becomes baffling in its how and something other than itself in its why, becomes a safely familiar reference to respectable news. via Easily Distracted
1) For partisan political purposes, so that candidates can know what's going on. No candidate worth his salt would trust a public poll.
2) For newspapers and TV stations, and
3) To advertise their polling outfit to corporate clients, who do all kinds of random polling
Unless those blogs link to real journalistic coverage, then they're simply meaningless "human interest" background stuff. If Blog A tells me that Israeli tanks fired on a UN school because they received mortar fire from that school, and Blog B tells me that Israeli tanks fired on the school because the evil Israelis saw it as a good chance to kill more Palestinians, I'm exactly nowhere. Or worse, I'm with one or the other simply because they pander to my prejudices.
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