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FINAL OUTCOME The Truth Manipulation Tool Kit November 12, 2007

Posted by shell in FINAL OUTCOME.
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These images show of our final outcome to our research project.





‘The Truth Manipulation Tool Kit’ will be distributed to interested parties so as they can continue our social experiment. This will create even greater exposure and public awareness of the issue of truth manipulation in the mass media.

The kit contains the five fabricated news headline posters we created, several copies of Mx and our inserts, stickers directing members of the public to our website, a CD containing a video of us in action and template for people to create their own posters and inserts, and finally a booklet documenting our social experiment and explaining how people can conduct their own.

More images are shown in our Flickr account, see ‘Photo Journal’ (right) for the link.

Our other design outcome is our website located at http://www.truthmanipulation.net/


Final Outcome Photos November 12, 2007

Posted by shell in FINAL OUTCOME.
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Please see the link to our flickr account (right) for images of our final print outcome ‘The Truth Manipulation Tool Kit’.

The end of an era… November 12, 2007

Posted by shell in RANDOM, THOUGHTS.
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Well before we post up our final outcome, we will each wrap this baby up… see the two below posts for Bec and Disti’s final thoughts and the entry entitled ‘Critical Analysis’ for Tash’s final thoughts.

Well… I have learnt an extraordinary amount throughout this project, it has really opened my eyes to the power of the media. Through all the books and articles read, and documentaries watched I have come to realise that we, KillerTofu, chose a very important and topical issue. At the beginning of the semester I was somewhat naive to the deceptive ways of the mass media, but now I feel I have the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about the information I receive on a daily basis from these conglomerates.

As for our rather ambitious social experiment, I am proud to say I was a part of it, we learnt a lot and had a heap of fun in the process… who knew four twenty-something chicks would have the nerve to vandalise city property and create totally false news headlines? The action day and night will not easily be forgotten, and is by far the most memorable uni moment I will take with me into the big bad world!!

A massive thank-you to the girls, Bec, Tash and Disti, once again we made a great team and got through it all without any dramas. We even managed to avoid pulling any all-nighters!! I will miss working with you all thats for sure.

Thanks to Nicki, Tony & Keith for their input and support throughout the semester, and apologies if we made you nervous with our naughty plans!

Well thats it from me, I will now post the final outcome up.

Cheers, Shell.

the last dance November 12, 2007

Posted by Bec in THOUGHTS.
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Well here we are! We finally made it.

We certainly ventured into unforeseen waters with this one for each of our personal design experiences im sure, definitely something that needs to continuously be challenged if not for design sake then to keep the lecturers on the edge of their seats! So it wasn’t ground breaking but we achieved our objective successfully and if we have made some form of difference to someone out there, then that’s more than we could have imagined to have achieved as the experience in itself was priceless!!! Michelle, keeping everything together ALL the time, Disti our technical support (who knew, your fabulous) and Tash the self proclaimed all rounder, the group dynamic worked so well! Thanks ladies for a fabulous year 🙂

SIGNING OFF – tofubec or bectofu, whichever?

It’s a wrap! November 11, 2007

Posted by Disti in THOUGHTS.
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It has come to this point where we have to wrap this up, academically anyway. I personally feel that we have opened up a door and taken a few steps through it, and surely there’s still quite a bit left to explore. 

Project wise, this has been one of the biggest things i’ve done and i’m glad to have been a part of it! It has never occured to me at the beginning of the semester that this would run to this scale. A bit daunting at first, but as the project went along it really got very ‘real’, not only as a ‘mere’ student project.Other than getting heaps more insight on the matter that is the manipulation of truth, the experience gained from working together as killertofu has been absolutely GREAT! Kudo’s to everybody for keeping it up: shell for her ability to manage us all without driving us mental, bec for countless funny moments & comments, and tash for happily having us over at times when meeting up at uni just didn’t do it anymore!

 i’ll leave it at this before it gets any cheesier (harhar)


Website Way Forward November 11, 2007

Posted by Disti in FINAL OUTCOME, WEBSITE.
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Plase click this link to view the pdf:

As previously discussed, the website has an opportunity to grow. Another section can be added onto it, in the form of a forum. (see above PDF) This will be a good support base for the users who purchase our final outcome and others who feel the need to socialise amongst themselves whilst venting their frustrations about the current media landscape.This has not been added to our actual website by the way and is simply a suggestion of how the page would look. Another page to be added to the site is a ‘Purchase’ page, where interested parties could purchase our final outcome ‘The Truth Manipulation Too Kit’. This page would show images of the kit, and have a online order form for credit card purchase.

ACTION REACTION November 10, 2007

Posted by shell in Uncategorized.
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Here is the text from our final print publication ‘The Truth Manipulation Tool Kit’. This section entitled ‘Action/Reaction’ documents our social experiment.


Welcome to the world of truth manipulation, a place where the mass media dominates the flow of information and controls what you, the public, sees and reads everyday.

We, the Truth Manipulation team, have decided that it is about time power was taken back from media conglomerates, and the voices and opinions of the public were heard.

We decided that the best way to communicate our message and educate the public about media truth manipulation was for us to create havoc! Our plan was to create false (yet topical and believable) news headlines to determine if Melbourne’s citizens would believe them just because they were presented in a media format.

We created news posters that were then placed in cages and also pasted up in a busy Melbourne street. Complementing the posters, an insert was created and placed into three hundred copies of the free afternoon newspaper Mx (Metro Express). The inserts took the form of an extra page of the newspaper and contained completely false articles under the same headlines as the posters.

We branded the mission ‘Truth Manipulator’ and created stickers to be stuck over current media advertising. This was to point out to the public the means the media will go to in order to sway opinions to align with their own agendas.The aim was to educate, generate conversation and hopefully get the public to think more about the information they are receiving from the media.

This booklet is the outcome of the social experiment and documents the results. If you flip over, you will find instructions for you to conduct your own experiment, and help raise awareness of this important issue.

Cheers, happy reading,
The Truth Manipulation Team.


This spot was perfect for our social experiment. It met all of the necessary criteria. The two main intersections were chosen as they suited the five different headlines we created that were targeted towards two slightly different audiences. The Bourke Street crowd are mostly female, whereas Collins Street are mostly businessmen and elderly tourists.


Collins Street can be referred to as the Rodeo Drive of the central business district in Melbourne. From real estate to law firms, doctors, surgeons, and financial offices. Collins Street attracts some of the high end businesses in Melbourne. We considered these factors as key determinants for our social experiment to take place in Spencer Street on both the Collins and Bourke Street intersections.

The response was sure to be interesting. There was great consideration given to where we positioned each false headline. The John So headline was to be positioned where bustling businessmen would be travelling on their way into work. Results were as assumed with interested smug smirks, quietly muttering under their breath with humour. Highly educated businessmen and women straight away making the assumption that this headline was sure to be a joke or political commentary.

To the happy travellers to Melbourne, Spencer Street is the main drop off point to and from the Melbourne Airport, as Southern Cross Station is the only avenue for public transport for airport travellers. There is always something exciting happening in Melbourne, such as the Spring Racing Carnival (hence our headline ‘Spring Racing Carnival Cancelled’) in which case, what better way to capture the attention of those travellers who have come to Melbourne for that very reason, and to then read that the festival has been cancelled. Shoppers at the new DFO complex
were also shocked to see the news.


We followed up our ‘action night’ (see video for details) by starting the following day observing members of the public interacting with our paste-ups. We hit Spencer Street at 8am in order to take advantage of peak-hour foot traffic in our ‘Hot-Spot’. We documented two key areas; the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets and the corner of Collins and Spencer Streets. We noticed that many businessmen tended to look at the headlines, despite being in a hurry to reach their place of work. We spotted a pair of colleagues having a chuckle at the ‘John So for Prime Minister’ poster. They laughed and then we overheard them discussing the possibility of the idea. Another pair was seen observing ‘Australia withdraws all troops from Iraq’, discussing the possibility then consulting their newspaper to confirm (or in this case disprove) the story’s authenticity.

The ‘Britney pregnant’ headline caught peoples eyes but was dismissed easily as it was believable, and many people are sick of hearing about the pop star. The headline was attractive primarily to women and there seemed to be an equal mix of disbelief or disgust and laughter. The majority of passers by who noticed the headline were women. The ‘John So’ headline did not seem to be taken seriously by many and was perceived as a Melbourne ‘in-joke’ causing many people to smile.

The false news headlines contained in the cages were even more effective than those that were pasted up. We believe this is due to the public perceiving any headlines presented in a newsagents cages to be true simply by default. Many members of the public were observed getting right up close to the cages to read the headline, many even bending or crouching down to get a good look. Some of the viewers noticed the ‘Truth Manipulation’ link on the posters, confirming in their mind that the information was false.

Our news cages were strategically attached to traffic light poles, so people had more time to read them and ponder upon the issues. The responses are more serious and deeply thought about. The general consensus was that they wished the news was true. At first, most of the viewers thought they were reading real news, and they were happy to hear it. Some of the audience thought that the headlines were part of the pre-election campaigns. Those observers who we spoke to, claimed that at first glance they believed the issues to be true, or at least hoped that the more serious headlines were true (in particular the ‘Iraq’ and ‘Kyoto Protocol’ ones).

Subconsciously, people tended to absorb the news information that appealed to them. The ‘fashion crowd’ outside DFO were attracted to the ‘Spring Racing Carnival’ headline, the war veterans and elderly read the ‘Australia withdraws all troops from Iraq’ and young women noticed the ‘Britney’ paste-ups. Our minds have been trained to filter the mass media flow of information. It’s about picking and sorting news that is relevant to us, things that will affect our individual world or comfort zone. This is why news such as Dafur genocide, drought in WA, things that happen in far away places do not register fully in our heads. Not because people are self-absorbed, it may be our natural survival instinct. Therefore, effective communication always triggers personal emotion, such as fear and aspiration to make it relevant
to a person, to a community.


We created a hard-copy and online survey in order to document and record the public’s reaction to our fake news headlines and articles.


“I remembered reading an article in a US mag about a publication that writes outrageous stuff like this. It’s funny not evil.” – Female, 35

“I thought it was real, which made me happy, then looked closer and saw the ‘Truth Manipulation’ website. I wished the news about Iraq and Kyoto was true. These issues are very topical.” – Female, 30

“I saw ‘Australia Signs Kyoto Protocol’ and my reaction was, here begins the pre-election one-up-manship between Howard and Rudd. I checked in the paper later to try and locate an article, and when I didn’t find one I saw that the joke was on me.” – Male, 45

“Oh gosh, Britney Spears is a skank!” – Female, 18

“Humorous” – Male, 23

“I did a double take. I thought ok… that’s News! Because they were in the news cages, it was believable. But I was unsure because it was just too good to be true. I then thought is this part of the pre-election last minute attempt of trying to get the public’s vote?” – Male, 28

“I thought it was a pre-election last attempt to get my vote. But I was happy, as the boys are coming home.” – Male, 35

“If only it was true. I looked and then discussed the issue of withdrawing all Australian troops from Iraq with my colleague” – Male, 52

“I had a good laugh, but to see people were actually convinced it was real, just like many believe the Da Vinci Code is real, is appalling.” – Female, 15

ANSWERS TO THE QUESTION: Are you aware that the media tends to manipulate the truth to push its own social and political agendas?

“Everyone truth manipulates, for example poetry. People might believe it but they don’t care unless it directly affects them. It is easily forgotten.” – Male, 30

“It’s because of the capitalist system that we are in, and services are only run if they make a profit, and the aim is minimal cost with maximum gain. We do not really live in a democratic country, but it is a dictatorship in most cases and the only democracy you have is once every four years and the choice is one idiot or another. I would like to have more information on this organization, and would like the final statistics once the survey is finished.” – Male, 15

“Well, sometimes they just drill it into you, I try to watch non-mainstream media. Like ABC and SBS, sometimes it can get about tough though watching serious stuff like that all the time. Sometimes the truth is just too much to handle. I just want to go home and relax with a glass of wine when I get home. But it’s good that you guys are poking fun at it. It becomes more ‘digestible’.” – Female, 25

“By telling half truths and concealing information they do not wish to disclose” – Male, 27

“The CEOs of media conglomerates wield a lot of power over their employees and journalists and they exercise it.” – Female, 21

“By directing people to sources owned by the same people. By emphasising only one side of any issues. By cutting and pasting others media work.” – Female, 52

“They are all coming from one channel like the Murdochs. They own about half of the media channels around the globe. And Rupert himself, is a known supporter for the right wing Republican party, that says something in itself, doesn’t it? And most of the media don’t carry any weight. It’s just a play on words, hardly any credential in it.” – Male,32

“Restriction of journalistic freedom.” – Male 35

“By dodging facts and attempting to brainwash us with mindless drivel.” – Female, 22

“I don’t know whether I would use the term ‘Manipulation’, or say that they are doing it to push their own political agenda. If it were that obvious I think the public would be aware of it and not purchase that media outlet. I think that the media’s choice of which stories to give prominence to, is driven by the desire to gain the biggest market share, so they choose stories that they think people will be interested in. As opposed to a cynical view of them trying to ‘brainwash’ us with their agendas.” – Female, 25

DO IT YOURSELF November 10, 2007

Posted by shell in Uncategorized.
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Here is the text from our final print publication ‘The Truth Manipulation Tool Kit’. This section entitled ‘Do It Yourself’ documents our social experiment.


So… you are sick of being patronized by the media or want to explore what’s really out there? Maybe you want to change the world? Or just do something fun? Whatever the reason is, this tool kit will become your weapon of mass communication!

The kit includes examples of posters, newspaper inserts, stickers and this booklet; containing these guidelines, templates, and a glue recipe. We have also included a section that includes results and observations from our first social experiment. Whatever you need to start this project you will find it here. We are now passing the baton to you. Be creative, have some fun and create something that is really worthwhile!

Cheers, Happy communicating,
The Truth Manipulation Team.


Picking your Hotspot ties you to your target audience and will affect the reaction. For example, the Bourke Mall crowd is different to the Collins Street business types.


• High foot-traffic area
• Exposure to audience
• Several Mx Stands
• Newsagent and/or Stand
• Construction Site
• Paste Up Surfaces
• Alleyways to hide in
• Base Spot & Carpark


These recipes are borrowed from ‘The Guerilla Art Kit’ by Keri Smith (Princeton Architectural Press, NY, 2007). This book is a useful resource you may wish to check out yourself.

Wheat paste is one of the most environmentally friendly poster adhesives. It eventually breaks down and is easier to remove than tape or staples. Plus, it is cheap and easy to make. Here are two versions: Heated and No-Heat. The heated type makes for a much smoother and durable paste and is the recommended method, but we offer the no-heat recipe in case you have no access to a stove. Please note this recipe is a guide only, you will need to duplicate the amounts to suit the quantity of posters you have printed and the paste-ups you plan to do.

• 1 cup cold water
• 1 cup white flour
• 4 cups boiling water
• 4 tablespoons sugar
• Airtight container
• Wooden spoon
• Cooking pot
• Paint brushes

1. Put 4 cups of water in the kettle to boil.
2. Make a mixture of the flour and cold water to make a smooth paste. Add more water if needed.
3. Measure the boiling water into a pot over medium heat. Slowly pour the cold mixture in with the hot water, stirring constantly.
4. Bring to a boil until paste thickens. Turn off heat.
5. Add the sugar and mix well. Allow to cool and pour into container.
6. To glue, paint the surface with a layer of paste. Smooth your poster on top of it, making sure the corners are well stuck. Brush a thin layer of paste over the poster to make it more weatherproof.

For added durability you can also add a bit of PVA craft glue once the wheat paste has cooled. The paste can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week, just make sure you remove it
a few hours before needed.

• 3 cups water
• 1 cup white flour
• Airtight container
• Wooden spoon
• Paint brushes

1. Pour flour into container and then start adding water.
2. Stir well until mixture takes on a glue-like consistency.
3. Test for its spreading and sticking ability.
4. Seal container to prevent the paste drying out.
5. To glue, paint the surface with a layer of paste. Smooth your poster on top of it, making sure the corners are well stuck. Brush a thin layer of paste over the poster to make it more weatherproof.


We recommend pasting your posters in a covered area. This will prevent rain causing the ink to run. If you have to do your pasting up during the day wear flouro vests to appear official. At night wear dark clothing so you don’t stand out. Remember what you are doing is illegal, so exercise caution at all times and try not to make too much noise in the process. Keep an eye out for security cameras, ‘Post No Bills’ signage and the police.


Mx Inserts
Paint brushes
Video Camera
Note Pads
Food & Drink
Sleeping Bags


Templates and fonts are provided for your convenience in the CD included at the back of this book. Just be creative and insert your own false headlines and articles!

These images demonstrate the two templates included on the CD overleaf. The templates are set up in the program ‘Adobe Indesign’ so you will need a copy of the program to use our designs. If you do not have access to Indesign, you can recreate these designs in other programs such as Illustrator or Quark XPress.

Also included on the disk is a five minute video of the Truth Manipulation team conducting their version of this social experiment. Check it out for some inspiration.


For more information please visit the Truth Manipulation website. It contains information about the serious issue of truth manipulation and censorship within the current media landscape. Our insightful literature review is also featured, as well as copies of our false headlines and articles. You will be able to download our Mx inserts and view photos of our action day and night. The survey we conducted is also on the site, as well as a comment box for you to leave your thoughts and opinions. Soon you will be able to communicate with fellow ‘Truth Manipulators’, as we are in the process of setting up an online forum. You will also be able to purchase more copies of the kit you hold in your hot little hands. Enjoy!

i have a buyer :) November 7, 2007

Posted by Bec in RANDOM.
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hey kids I have a buyer for the kit, someone who is interested, hehehe I do however think we need to do a 100 pt check on these people before we give them out! trust might have an influence in these thoughts with this person. keep up the good work chicketts, b

CRITICAL ANALYSIS November 4, 2007

Posted by natasha in PROCESS JOURNAL, THOUGHTS.
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Truth Manipulation.

There are two components here. The ‘truth’ and ‘manipulation’.

The truth can be interpreted in two ways: the facts and the belief. The facts consists of figures, datas, and solid scientific or result of experience, whereas belief usually considered as depending on one’s own judgment and notion. Some people say that you cannot have it both ways, but in the realty world is that, these two connotations are often go hand in hand, one derives from the other. Theories is a waste unless one truly believe in it and walk the talk. Belief can also become irrelevant if it ignores knowledge and understanding.

People often gets confused by what to belief in. We are constantly bombarded with information, news, current affairs and other things in between, everyday. In result, it has become very difficult to recognize what is the truth anymore. This is where the word ‘manipulation’ comes in. Progressively, we have developed into a sophisticated modern society, where everything that we need to know and what we want to know can be obtained at the press of a button. And that press of a button or a click of a mouse generates income.

People used to be interested in the truth. Not anymore. As one of our survey participant says, “Well, sometimes they just drill it on you, I try to watch non-mainstream media. Like ABC and SBS, sometimes it can get about tough though watching serious stuff like that all the time. Sometimes the truth is just too much to handle. I just want to go home and relax with a glass of wine when I get home. But it’s good that you guys are poking fun at it. It becomes more ‘digestable’.”

When we started this project, we assumed that the answer was plain evident in front of our eyes. Just blame the media moguls and their manipulative con artists and spin doctors. However, what we have found out is that they only presenting what the audience ‘want’ to see. Gossip tabloids and reality television flourished in this past decade. Hard facts and news are too complicated, too horrible and too bleak for us to receive. The world is too big and its problems are out of reach for us to answer. Also, maybe we have become too spoilt, in two ways: we live in a very comfortable country and we live in a global world where machine dominates the way we live and communicate to one another. Because of this, we seek things that stimulates our emotions. We want to be inspired and motivated, but on the darker side we also are more willing to act when something taps into our fear and anxiety.

The media and advertisers know this. This is why we respond well to tabloids, stories of everyday real-life heroes, celebrities gossips, reality tv and so on. We also responded to the Iraq War when 9/11 happened. Today, Americans have realized or even regretted the War, and blaming it all on Bush, but they forgot that it was their vote and voices that gave the government the seal of approval to fight the terrorist. Why? Because the problem have arrived at their ‘backyard’ and threatened things that are dear to them,their home and security. That’s funny, because the problem have been brewing for number of decades and no one did anything about it. It was to complicated and to far from their ‘world’. It was someone else’s problem not ours. This is the same as the genocide in Rwanda, and currently the problem in Darfur, the starving African children, the war in Burma, and the melting ice caps in Antartica. The problem is still far away.

Celebrities gossips, fashion stakes and local reality tvs all become more appealing, as they are more ‘accessible’ and ‘digestable’. They’re accessible because they are consumative, we can buy the clothes that these people wear, their lifestyle. By doing so we already feel as beautiful and important as they are. Our real self-worth ties to these materialistic goods, and we are ok with it. This why advertising can become so powerful. They taps into these emotive behaviour. Why beauty and lifestyle industry are booming? We are afraid to grow old, because the tabloids tell us no one wants us anymore when we are old and fat. What we forget is that celebrities are also just human, but what is out there are not real. But they master the use of Photoshop and techniques to manipulate or hide their flaws. So advertising taps into our fear and dream. Digestable, because, we don’t need to think much about it. We don’t have to be faced with ethics and moral dilemmas. Our principals and our belief would not be challenged and questioned. But reality tv in it self are not ‘real’. They are staged and carefully planned to produce the outcome that the producers desired. To generate more viewers, boost up the ratings, bringing in more money. In real life, we are meant to deal with issues, big and small. We cannot run away and shut our eyes from these issues.

However, with the same weapon we can also make a difference. We can make a change. We have seen it. Today’s youth are more pro active than any other generation before hand. No longer we are just marching down the street, shouting our contempt and dissatisfaction. People are actually going to the source of the problem and tackling it one step at a time. We found that people will respond as long that they realized that they too can take part in the solution. They become inspired and the problem becomes manageable. They realized that they too have a voice in the matter. They will act when they realized that it is important to protect their home and their ‘world’. And what’s better than doing it together, as the famous cliche says that ‘together we can make a difference’. But we often forget that ‘the change starts from us’. Maybe this is where the problem is. Maybe we don’t want to change. It is too hard to change. We are comfortable in our own zone. So, we accept what’s given to us on the silver plater or on the silver screen. Even though, subconsciously we know that this is not real, we are being dumbed down or everything is fabricated for our viewing pleasure. The truth is that we only want to accept what we want to believe in and we know this. So each night when we go home from work or at the end our day, and we go to sleep , hoping tomorrow will still be there, as long as our loved ones still there safely in their bed, our ‘world‘ is okay. Everything will be okay.