Friday, February 18, 2011

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World, Number Seventy-Five.

75. Whenever news sources cite "people's opinions," they should also tell what percentage of respondents that opinion represents.

Most news these days consists of either the weather, or asking people what they think about stuff -- which is to say most news these days isn't news at all, but reporting on what people think about the news, and what's going on outside.

But news organizations don't actually report facts, even when they're just parroting back what you said. All news organizations feel a responsibility to present "both sides of the story," even when there's really only one side of the story. Send a reporter out on the street to ask people "Do you think kids should be locked into barrels and sent over Niagara Falls as part of the college application process?" and 999 people in a row will say "No" and call the police on you -- but 1 guy (probably from Montana, certainly in a "Tea Party") will say "Yeah, it's good for them." And on the news that night, you'll see him alongside one of the no people.

Which then gives you the idea that people are evenly split on college-application barrel kids, even though they're not -- so the news organization slanted the report while trying to be fair.

So if they must present "opposing views" or "both sides" or what have you, they should simply list, in typing at the bottom, what percentage of respondents echoed that person -- and when you watched the college application barrel story, you'd see Whack Job with a "1/1000" below him, while Ms. Sane "no" would say "999/1000," letting you know just where people stand on the issue.

Do that, and see how few people really hated health care reform, or other so-called "controversial" proposals.

Prior entries:

13. Ban driving any kind of automobile, motorcycle or other personal vehicle within 1-2 miles of downtown in any city with a population of more than 100,000.

12. Abolish gym class; instead, teach kids to play musical instruments.

11. Change copyright laws to allow anyone to use anyone else's creative work provided that the copier pay 60% of the profit to the originator and that the copier not cast the original work in a negative light.

10. Have more sidewalk cafes and outdoor seating.

9. When you have to give someone a gift, ask them what they want, and then get that thing for them.

8. Never interrupt or finish someone's jokes.

7. Periodically, give up something you like for at least a month.

6. Switch to "E-money."

5. Have each person assigned one phone number, and then add an extension for the various phones and faxes that person might be reached at.

4. Abolish Mondays and Tuesdays.

3. Don't listen to interviews with athletes or comedians.

2. Have "personal cashiers" at the grocery store.

1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.

Is this working? You bet --

1001 Ways also helped change the world here!


1001 Ways also helped change the world here!


Rogue Mutt said...

What I really hate is when they read people's Facebook posts or Tweets. Walter Cronkite must be rolling in his grave.

anna. said...

In theory, news sources exist to give you choices. They show people what's out there, in hopes that the general public can cultivate opinions for themselves instead of waiting for someone to spell it out.

Don't get me wrong...I understand your frustration. But it's near impossible to get a real taste of exactly how many people agree or disagree with an issue anyways. Some people don't want to talk to you regardless of the issue and others will trample you at the mere sight of a microphone. News people are trying though. Promise ( :