I read an article in the USA Today section of our local newspaper that referred to new poll showing that Carly Fiorina had roared to the top of the GOP Presidential candidate lineup, Marco Rubio had jumped to second place, and Donald Trump was skidding down the slippery slope at a fast pace.
As a presidential race and debate junkie (I watch all the debates and read all the polls for both major parties), I thought, Huh, that’s interesting. Let me read more. So I did, and only then did I discover the poll included only thirty people, all “political experts,” of which only a couple were actually named and their expertise defined. One was a professor of political science. Another a newspaper editor. I have no idea if the remaining political experts were poli sci profs or Las Vegas bookies. My internal critic immediately shredded that poll as “stupid,” as Mr. Trump probably said as well. The sample is too small, it’s not random, and we would have to dig much deeper to identify all of the polled “experts.” Who has time to do that? And yet, the article reads as if the poll accurately defines and predicts what is going to happen next.
So what is it that makes reporters and columnists assume readers are so dumb they’ll believe anything they read? Sigh. The truth is, it’s out of fashion to analyze, evaluate, and reach our own conclusions. We’re into
slam bam, thank you ma’am bare bones reporting with the reporter/columnist acting as chief interpreter and judge.
Please tell me I’m wrong. Please tell me Americans of all ages still read and evaluate news, carefully separating fact from fiction from foolishness.
I’m not sure I’ll believe you, though. Here’s another reason why.
Over the years, I’ve developed the habit of scanning the article leads and links listed on the Drudge Report, mostly looking for those tidbits published in UK or English version foreign news outlets. It’s like watching BBC or other world news on television to get a feel for the stories not being reported here at home.
Lately, more of the links on the Drudge Report have taken on the appearance of the cover leads on the Enquirer and other checkout stand news magazines that cater to the sensational and outrageous.
You want examples? Here are three I saw today:
HBO ‘WESTWORLD’ Extras Must Agree to Sexually Explicit Casting Contract…’Genital-to-genital touching’…
Man’s Leg Bursts Open From Flesh-Eating Venom After Being Bitten By Spider On Flight…
Dog ‘drives’ pickup truck into lake…
And this is what passes for world news.
Does anyone else have good examples of reporting that makes you crazy?
Note: My guest tomorrow is the wonderful and entertaining Rich Keller with his thoughts on productivity. He also mentions my my upcoming whole body plastic surgery. Don’t be alarmed. He’s only kidding. Honest!)