Tag Archives: media

Making Controversy Out of Nothing

22 May

The Washington Post did a poll, asking Americans what they think of the national anthem being played. The answer? 84 percent of Americans support the anthem being played or sung before professional sporting events. But that’s not the headline…

The headline of the article is “How do Americans feel about the anthem at sporting events? It depends which Americans you ask.” Okay, suspicious, but it’s there to attract your attention. The big reveal… “Fewer than 4 in 10 Black Americans say the national anthem makes them feel positive.” (blink) Are you kidding freaking kidding me?!

What I’m amazed by is that the newspaper worked with a university, sent out a poll, and instead of going with the results–because it wasn’t the one they were expecting–they had to exaggerate it to get the result they wanted to report. Instead of the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans support playing the national anthem, what did they want to focus on? A clear minority of a minority didn’t like it. Seriously?!

The problem with living in a bubble is that you have no contact anyone outside your bubble. I’d be guilty of this, too, if I didn’t have a wife that thinks the Democrat Party is too far right for her tastes. But let’s imagine you’re a reporter for the Washington Post. You’re a liberal and always vote Democrat. You work in a solid blue District of Columbia, you probably live in an apartment nearby, or a comfy suburb that votes majority blue. All your friends are liberals and think Trump was the antichrist (or you would if you weren’t an agnostic). So you never talk with anyone with an opinion to the right of yours. Of course, black America is upset at the national anthem. We should all feel uncomfortable about it!

But when faced with hard data, which tells you that your assumptions are wrong, how do you write your article? Simple–you double down on your assumptions. In the article, they have to admit that even that 40% is sketchy… the actual number of black Americans with a negative view of the anthem is 22%. You have to say “fewer that 4 out of 10.” It’s like my old employer saying that “we’re one of three of the top hospitals in the country!” Really… so you want to guess which number they are? Third. Children’s Hospital Boston and CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) consistently rank higher. Third is still really good–and you can get just as good care there as you can in Boston. But saying, “We’re number three!” doesn’t inspire customers coming. If they had said “top 5 or 10,” that would have been fine… but the marketing department had to spin it higher.

So you have to ask yourself–is the poll valid? Well, it’s your own poll, you spent money on putting it out, you better believe it is. There’s a lot of ways to skew polling; the most obvious is to choose to only the population you want. If they polled just D.C. residents, they might have gotten closer to the answer they wanted. You can also skew the question. They asked “When the national anthem is played or sung at sporting events, does it make you feel…?” But they could have said, “Do you feel offended at the national anthem?” Or “Should we continue to play the offensive national anthem?” That would have skewed it closer to their result.

It’s just sad that when media tries to put people into pigeonholes, they get really confused when people don’t fit in the spaces they’re supposed to. Hispanics don’t consistently vote Democrat (which is why Puerto Rico isn’t going to be a state anytime soon, but they’re pushing D.C. towards statehood), majority pro-life, and are for stronger enforcement at the border. But I’ve already written about that–but what do you think? Are polls to be trusted? How do you react when you receive contradictory information about your beliefs? Let me know in the comments below! And if you want to continue to be challenged, check out one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your beliefs, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. (They’re not that controversial.)

Where Did All The Cameras Go?

31 Mar

Remember two weeks ago when we were talking about the shootings in Atlanta? Remember how there was serious consideration for new gun control legislation? Then the shootings in Colorado happened… and all that coverage suddenly stopped. Why?

The answer is: “It didn’t fit the narrative.” What the press was more interested in was NOT the shooting, or the epidemic of gun violence, it was white men shooting Asians. Right after the headline in the New York Times article were the words, “Six of the victims were Asian, the authorities said, raising fears that there may have been a racial motivation to the crimes.” The shooter? Robert Aaron Long, a 21-year-old white guy.

When ten people were gunned down in one of the most liberal (and most federal government employee living) towns in America, naturally that made headlines. But then they found the shooter. Sure, from the mugshot, it looks like a white guy, but his name is Ahmad al Aliwi Alissa, a Syrian immigrant who has lived almost his entire life in Colorado. Suddenly the press wasn’t that interested, and once the horror was over, they picked up and moved on.

Why? Because they want to show white guys killing minorities, preferably blacks. That’s what gets ratings. To quote the book Bias by Bernard Goldberg, a reporter who worked for CBS News for decades, “the true bias of the media is towards conflict.” I used to say they didn’t care about left or right, but rather what made headlines, but that’s not true anymore. Contrary to popular belief, mass shootings don’t keep eyeballs on 24-hour news coverage–the “impending race war” does. If minorities are killing white people, or worse, minorities are killing minorities, that doesn’t help keep viewers. They are appealing to their audience, and their audience believes “white man bad, dark man good.” They will tune out anything that contradicts that.

If you’ve read an article about a subject you know well, you’ve probably noticed that it is usually wrong. Take this screen shot from the AP, generally considered one of the most balanced news sources. On the same screen, they have two articles: “Indian farmers mark 100th day of protests with road blockade.” And right frickin’ below it, is “Indian farmers protest new laws with road block.” Well, gee… it’s not “new” if they’ve been at it for three months! The finance and the economy editors aren’t talking to each other. Their job is to get new content up as fast as possible. The headline gets the clicks, the clicks show advertisers that they get eyeballs, and the advertisers buy ads on their feed.

Let’s keep with the story of mass shootings and take another news story you didn’t read. On March 24th, guy walks into a Publix grocery store in Atlanta, Georgia. The manager goes into the bathroom and a shopper notices that guy suddenly taking out body armor and several guns. Manager calls the police and they get there quick enough to stop the guy from causing another mass shooting. it didn’t make the headlines for two reasons. One, no one died. Remember, the bias of the media is towards conflict. Second, the name of the would-be shooter was Rico Abednego Neequaye Marley. If you read the NYT article, you can’t guess the race of the shooter. Rico Marley could be anybody. “Neequaye” is a dead giveaway that the shooter is African-American. Doesn’t fit the narrative, doesn’t make the headlines.

Do we have a problem with gun violence in America, absolutely. Do we have an impending race war? No. In Chicago, where there are more murders than anywhere else in America, more African-Americans kill their fellow minority than anyone else. That doesn’t make headlines, but mostly because it’s a daily occurrence. My fear is that if the media keep pounding the drumbeat of “White Men Are Out to Kill You,” minorities will believe it, and will decide “I’m gonna get them before they get me.” You don’t want that.

Am I overreacting? Should we be more concerned about white men killing minorities? Let me know in the comments below! If you like my writing, pick up one of my books. But if you’re still not sold, download one of my stories for free! You’ll be glad you did.

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