Media Boogeymen

John Stossel writes about the media concentrating on stories that scare people. It’s really good stuff, and worth reading the whole thing. The part relevant for us is:

Here’s another example. What do you think is more dangerous, a house with a pool or a house with a gun? When, for “20/20,” I asked some kids, all said the house with the gun is more dangerous. I’m sure their parents would agree. Yet a child is 100 times more likely to die in a swimming pool than in a gun accident.

Parents don’t know that partly because the media hate guns and gun accidents make bigger headlines. Ask yourself which incident would be more likely to be covered on TV.

Media exposure clouds our judgment about real-life odds. Of course, it doesn’t help that viewers are as ignorant about probability as reporters are.

I’m glad to see media figures finally talking about this issue. I it’s never been so much a bias, though I will concede that’s an issue, but more the fact that reporters don’t tend to be well educated on a broad variety of subjects. Thus, they gravitate towards stories that will get them notoriety, and lack the knowledge to keep their bullshit detectors well maintained and in good working order.

Hat Tip: Michael Bane

2 thoughts on “Media Boogeymen”

  1. I think John Stossel has talked about this in the past, though I can’t be sure when. He’s always had a libertarian streak in him.

    Sidenote: his catchphrase “Give me a break” always makes me want to finish it with “of that Kit-Kat bar.”

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