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Posts Tagged ‘news media’

Food for thought.

Kevin DeYoung:

Sommerville’s main point is not the news is dumb, but that we are dumb for paying so much attention to it (11). We have become conditioned to think that the really important stuff of life comes to us in a neat 24-hour news cycle. Worse than that, in our mobile-digital age most of us assume that news is happening every second of every minute of every hour of every day, and if we tune out (or turn off our phones) for more than a few hours (minutes?) we will be rendered out of touch and uninformed. That’s dumb.

The solution is not better news, but less of it. The problem is with the nature of news itself. The news is all about information. It’s about what’s trending now. It rarely concerns itself with the big questions of life. It focuses relentlessly on change, which, as Sommerville points out, gives it an inherent bias against conservatism and religious tradition (50-54, 60-62, 135). Our soundbite/twitter/vine/ticker-at-the-bottom-of-the-screen/countdown-clock/special-report culture of news encourage us to miss the forest of wisdom for the triviality of so many trees. As Malcolm Muggeridge once observed: if he had been a journalist in the Holy Land during Jesus’ ministry he probably would have wasted his time digging through Salome’s memoirs (54).

Read the rest

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I’ve been maintaining for years that many ‘studies’ and some ‘social scientists’ are not employing anything like reasonable, much less respectable, methods, and should not be given any standing. Now, thanks to a fellow who has been the darling of the liberal press despite having made up much of his data, we’re getting articles like this: The Chump Effect: Reporters are credulous, studies show, by Andrew Ferguson (Weekly Standard, December 5, 2011.)

I take a swing at sloppy, slanted, ‘social science’ in more than one of my books. Here are a couple of excerpts from Not Exactly Allies, starting with the beginning of the book:

1 – THE CALLS

“Hallo?”

“Durand? Is that you?”

“Who wants to know?”

“Sorry. Hugh here. Did you know men and women see things differently?”

Pause.

“Well, yes,” Leandre Durand said at last, slowly, obviously not quite sure where his British friend was leading with this phone call.

“Sorry, I didn’t put that very well.”

“Perhaps not.”

“What I mean to say is that women not only put their own spin on things, they actually see differently. I’ve been studying it. You should see some of these studies. They put a group of girls in a room and drop hundreds of dollar bills all at once, and the girls see everything at once and rarely grab a bill. They just jump and giggle and grab thin air, mostly. You put boys in the same room, drop an equivalent flurry of bills, and they can isolate them and wind up with booty.”

“My Perrine says such experiments only show that men like to prove their prowess and women are happy just to play.”

“That’s a new twist. I hadn’t thought of that.”

“Or perhaps the people performing the experiment have, one hopes inadvertently, prepared the girls differently leading into the experiment. It is hard to say. Certainly boys and girls are different, but children like to please grownups who pay them the least little attention, and psychologists, alas, are prone to pet theories.”

“I’d have to say I’d noticed that. Odd theories, too, some of them.”

“But of course. You cannot make your name with a discovery of something that makes sense. Not in some circles, at least. Excuse me a little minute, if you please.”

Richard Hugh was astonished to hear gunshots and glass shattering. Being experienced, he held his tongue. Durand would get back to him when he could. If he could.

And:

[Richard had] never liked the man, and the more contact he’d had with the fellow over the years, the more animosity there’d been. But it had always been a personal dislike. It bothered Richard that he hadn’t figured out the man was susceptible to outside influences. He told his wife so.

“Bah,” said Emma. “Orchard had a reputation for being easy to manipulate.”

“No, he didn’t.”

“I’ll amend that. Orchard had a reputation amongst women for being easy to manipulate.”

“Maybe by women,” Richard groused. “I don’t know a man who didn’t find the fellow impossible to deal with.”

Emma grinned, and swept her husband into a hug. “But, darling. He fancied himself to be totally rational. Nobody but nobody is more susceptible to outside input than a man who thinks he’s rational and is proud of that fact. Especially one whose idea of ‘reason’ is based almost entirely on formal studies of college students who volunteer to be guinea pigs.”

“Which of course tells you something about college students who volunteer to be guinea pigs, but nothing much whatsoever about adults, children, or college students who have better things to do,” Richard said.

“Absolutely. Change the subject, luv.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m in your arms and don’t want to think about men who treat everyone’s emotions but their own as symptoms of something.”

Richard leaned down and kissed her. He made it a long and tender kiss. When he came up for air he said, “There. I couldn’t think of an intellectual subject I wanted to discuss, so I opted for pure emotion. I hope that meets your criteria for changing the subject?”

She pulled him back into a kiss, which he correctly took as a yes.

Not Exactly Allies is also available in Kindle, Nook, and Large Print.

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This Miami Herald editorial compares the Castro dictatorship with Mubarek’s long grip on power.

hat tip: Vital Signs

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From Dennis Prager:

…Think about it for a moment. Why do television cameras never pull back and give a wide-angle view of the president delivering his speech? That is certainly routine for TV: It is considered uninteresting to TV viewers to have a fixed view of a subject.

Why, then, have almost no Americans ever seen what is located above the president, the vice president and the speaker of the House?

I discovered the answer when I attended President Obama’s speech on health care to a joint session of Congress.

I saw chiseled in the marble wall behind the speaker and vice president, in giant letters, the words “In God We Trust.”

My immediate reaction was to wonder: Why had I never seen that before? I have, after all, been watching presidential State of the Union addresses for about 40 years.

Read the whole article

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… is the headline over at the BBC.

No, really. Paul Hudson, a “Climate correspondent” at BBC News, has noticed that the predictions of climate alarmists aren’t panning out, nor is the most touted theory on what causes global warming and cooling holding up all that well, and concludes, “It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over. Indeed some would say it is hotting up.”

May the best scientists win, that’s what I say.

hat tip: Steven Hayward

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I suppose you’ve heard that 90 percent of guns seized from gun cartels in Mexico have been traced to the United States?

That’s not quite so. (/understatement)

Kelly Boggs explains:

…Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California parroted the figure at a Senate hearing, saying: “It is unacceptable to have 90 percent of the guns that are picked up in Mexico … come from the United States.”

The message so far has been clear: Guns are too easy to obtain in the United States and the Second Amendment is to blame. As a result, the gun violence in Mexico is made worse. There is one problem, though: The 90 percent figure is bogus. Fox News was suspicious of the 90 percent claim and did some digging. What the news network found is that only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been actually traced to the U.S.

There is quite a discrepancy between 17 percent and 90 percent. So which is actually correct?

An ATF spokesperson clarified the 90 percent statistic that was used by Hoover. She told FoxNews.com “that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S.”

The key to understanding the “90 percent” figure is the word “traced.” The vast majority of guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing, because, Fox News reported, “it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the U.S.”

ATF Special Agent William Newell told FoxNews.com that in between 2007 and 2008 Mexico submitted 11,000 guns to the ATF for tracing. Of that number, 6,000 were successfully traced and of those, approximately 90 percent — 5,114 to be exact — were found to have come from the United States.

However, according to the Mexican government, 29,000 guns were recovered from crime scenes during 2007 and 2008, FoxNews.com reported.

Let’s try to put things in perspective, something the aforementioned media outlets and politicians have yet to do: Of the 29,000 guns recovered at Mexican crime scenes in 2007-2008, only 5,114 — about 17 percent — have been traced to the United States. Approximately 18,000 were never submitted for tracing because it was obvious they were not from the United States.

Read the whole Kelly Boggs column at Baptist Press

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