econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 25 June 2016

Media Warp - The Cable News Distortions

by Elliott Morss, Morss Global Finance

Introduction

The media loves reporting bad news - great ratings! And we have all received far more information/reports with no new information than we need on the Orlando and San Bernardino killings. And the same on planes lost in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean. With this information overload, it is easy to lose the forest for the proverbial trees. And politicians do not help: they rearrange/distort news for their own purposes. Below, I offer several examples of "media warp."

How Prevalent Are Mass Shootings and Acts of Terrorism?

Media coverage gives the impression that US terrorist acts and other mass shootings happen frequently. They do not. The FBI reports that in 2014, there were 8,124 gun homicides or a bit more than 22 per day. Table 1 provides mass shootings and gun accidents information. It is notable that gun accidents dwarf mass shootings. And yet, the American public believes terrorism is a real threat and handgun sales for self defense have gone way up.

Table 1. - US Mass Shootings and Gun Accidents

cbl1

Source: Gun Violence Archive

And as we are learning from the Orlando shootings, it is increasingly difficult to disentangle acts of terrorism planned by some foreign group from lone wolves that have become "believers."[1] The point is, don't take what you get from the media as representative: terrorist acts are only a small fraction of the mass shooting number which is itself small.

And how about the other 7,500+ gun homicides that occur yearly? That are apparently not newsworthy enough to cover - they happen too often. Instead, cable news gives wall-to-wall coverage of a child being killed by an alligator. And how many remember the 2015 Nepal and 2016 Ecuador earthquakes? 8.964 died in Nepal and 661 in Ecuador.

The Important Story the Media Is Missing

Table 2 provides data on the "attacks" since Paris that have even a tenuous link to a terrorist group. There have been many. How many remember the Boku Haram attack in Dalon killing 86 or the Lahore attack killing 69? Very few - not much US media coverage. For perspective, I have also included data on civilians' killed in the ongoing war in Iraq.

Table 2. - Attacks Since Paris with Terrorist Links

cbl2

Source: pri.org, aljazeera.com, iraqbodycount.org

With data from Table 2 in mind, take a look at Table 3. It includes the Muslim population shares in selected countries. The important story not being followed by the media is: why have there been so few terrorist attacks in Europe?

Table 3. - Muslim Population Shares

cbl3

Source: Pew Forum

Note how small the Muslim share is in the US and how much higher in Europe. Keep in mind that within the European Union, there is very little control of immigrants: if they get in through any country, they are free to travel throughout the Union. The continental European countries within the Union are highlighted in Table 2. They all have much larger Muslim population shares than the US. And that, coupled with limited immigration controls, would lead one to expect more terrorist attacks in Europe than there have been.

Republicans versus Democrats Rather than Compromise

Every day, cable news tracks down politicians and asks them to take "black or white" positions on issues. For example, Republicans are being asked whether they support or oppose Trump and Democrats have to be in either the Bernie or Hillary camp. That is not how the political process should work. A significant part of the political process should take place behind "closed doors" where negotiation can result in compromise. But today, media forces politicians to commit themselves one way another far too soon. A recent example of "media pestering": Bernie Sanders continually being asked if he was suspending his campaign. My view: let Bernie and Hillary work things out in private.

Extended Coverage When No New News

Cable news, led by CNN has really gone overboard here."Breaking News" is rarely new. The classic examples here come from coverage of plane crashes in Egypt, the Ukraine, the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean. The format is nearly always the same: a moderator surrounded by retired pilots, air regulatory officials, and "black box" experts. They speculate on what happened, even when it is patently clear what happened. Does the public really care exactly where the planes crashed in the Indian or Mediterranean?

Conclusions

The public is not served well by the media. Instead of providing them with a balanced picture on what is happening, they blow everything out of proportion to attract more listeners. Unspoken (and sometime spoken) conspiracies exist between protest leaders and the media, e.g., the media promise coverage if the leaders can deliver X number of protesters. And in this search for sensationalism, balance is lost. Sometimes it does not matter: after all, it is just entertainment. But sometimes, the unbalanced coverage has real consequences: in light of the terrorism scare Americans' purchases of handguns has rocketed up.

[1] For a great book on "true believers' and the dangers they present, see Eric Hoffer, The True Believer - Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, New York: Harper and Row, 1951.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical Opinion Post Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.



You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.





Econintersect Opinion


search_box

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.


Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com
Main Home
Analysis Blog
Joan Robinson’s Critique of Marginal Utility Theory
The Truth About Trade Agreements - and Why We Need Them
News Blog
Crude Oil Prices: "Random"? Hardly. The More Emotional The Market, The More Predictable It Is.
Infographic Of The Day: Job-Hopping
Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Up, Oil Firms, Russia's Big Oil Deal, Trump Will Stay In Business, Trump Menaces Drug Cos, Banks Rig Silver, Italy's 360B NPL, Iraq Has Oil Cut Problem, China Trade Improves And More
Goals Come With A Hefty Price Tag At The Emirates
Facebook Strongest On Home Ground
Defence Budgets Are Surging In The Baltic States
It's Been A Turbulent Start, But Juno Is Now Delivering Spectacular Insights Into Jupiter
The World's Most Reputable Cities
What We Read Today 07 December 2016
October 2016 Consumer Credit Headlines Say Year-Over-Year Growth Rate Declined
Disabled Veteran And His Service Dog Get Job At Hardware Store
October 2016 JOLTS Job Openings Rate Shows Insignificant Year-over-Year Growth
Do Rises In Oil Prices Mean Rises In Food Prices?
Investing Blog
Trumpsternomics And Economic Growth
The Real 401k Plan Manager 07 May 2016
Opinion Blog
Italy Confronts The European Elite
The US Government Needs To Spend More
Precious Metals Blog
Silver Prices Rebounded Today: Where They Are Headed
Live Markets
07Dec2016 Market Close: Wall Street Records New Highs, Health-Care Stocks Tumble, Crude Prices Stall At $50 Handle, New Fears Of A Correction Are Looming
Amazon Books & More






.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government



Crowdfunding ....






























 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2016 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved