As if we needed it, we got another demonstration that what’s published on the internet is only as good as the person writing it. Some of it is not good at all.
Inc Magazine reported the results of a poll in honor of the 4th of July about which brands Americans perceive to be the most patriotic. (See http://www.aol.com/article/2016/06/28/these-are-americas-50-most-patriotic-brands-guess-which-famous/21420689/)
Now, what every researcher should know — and what any thinking adult could figure out — is that when you ask a superficial question you will get a superficial answer that doesn’t mean much of anything. Very few people spend time thinking about which brands are most patriotic. How much time do you spend thinking about that? The results might be amusing, but aren’t worth anything more than that.
Now, if you have some lead in question, like “what’s your definition of patriotism?”, you might get people thinking and get some interesting responses. There’s no evidence that the people asking questions in this case used a thoughtful approach.
They also didn’t spend much time thinking about the results. According to this report, the two most “patriotic” brands are Jeep and Disney. The writer scoffed at consumers for saying that. What do these brands have to do with patriotism?
Well, think about that. Prior to Desert Storm and the advent of the Hummer, the Jeep was the go-to vehicle for the US military for more than 50 years — WWII, Korea, Nam and a host of other places. While current Jeep advertising does wave the flag from time to time, that 50 year legacy is rather hard to ignore. Gee, what’s patriotic about being identified so closely with the US Army?
Now, why was Disney up there? Well, history buffs know that Disney produced films for the US government and military during WWII. However, most consumers probably don’t know that. What consumers do know is that Disney has an outstanding reputation for quality, epitomizes basic American values, and has been an ambassador for American culture for more than 80 years. Gee, what could be patriotic about that?
No, what Inc Magazine has given us in this case is superficial analysis by someone who doesn’t have the knowledge base to write something worthwhile. The article isn’t even cute; it’s just silly in a non-flattering sense.
The fact that this got published represents a failure of editorial controls at Inc. That unfortunately is typical of a lot of what appears on the Internet. Fact-checking and thought are often sacrificed in the interest of posting something. That’s sad.