07 May 2013

Polling shows that news media are incompetent

Gun crime has plunged, but Americans think it's up, says study - latimes.com: Despite the remarkable drop in gun crime, only 12% of Americans surveyed said gun crime had declined compared with two decades ago, according to Pew, which surveyed more than 900 adults this spring. Twenty-six percent said it had stayed the same, and 56% thought it had increased.
So says the LA Times, before going on in head-scratching bewilderment as to how Americans could be so ill-informed.

Look at it this way news reporters: that poll is really a report card on you. It turns out, you fail when it comes to keeping people informed.

And articles like this one, and all of those over the last day or two regarding this recent report about the fall in crime over the past twenty years, are great examples. Reporting these days consists of re-wording press releases - sort of like a C student rephrasing an encyclopedia (or Wikipedia) article instead of doing any research.

Crime didn't start falling twenty years ago, it started falling thirty years ago, and US murder rates are the lowest they have been in fifty years. Fifty!

Yet "helicopter parents" won't let their kids outside alone because to watch the news, you'd think it was all Mad Max out there. There is less crime now than there has been in the entire lifetime of most living Americans.

But they don't know that if they get their information from the news media.

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