Thursday, March 20, 2014

We're dumber than I thought -- and the anniversary of a crime

I have to admit, I was gobsmacked by this finding:

Overall, Americans report that they trust the information they get from local TV news stations to a greater degree than any other source of news, with 52 percent who seek out local TV news saying that they trust the information very much or completely. At similar levels, 51 percent of those who use the newswires say they trust them, 48 percent trust radio news, and 47 percent trust newspapers and the three broadcast networks, NBC, ABC, and CBS. Forty-four percent of those who use cable news say they have a high level of trust in it. Users of magazines (print or online) as a source of news report slightly more modest levels of trust (40 percent completely or very much).

American Press Institute

Do more than half of us really believe that local TV news is credible, more than we trust other sources? Help!

Not that I quite know where to look for credible news myself sometimes. The situation in Ukraine is stumping me this week. As has been true so often since 9/11, there don't seem to be any "good guys" in this one. Putin is loathsome, but Samantha Power, representing the U.S. at the U.N., is fatuous.

Everyone might benefit from simply taking a deep breath ... and remembering that today we mark the 11th anniversary of our own assault on the nation of Iraq, a far more extravagant violation of international norms than Russia's occupation of Crimea. The media did a particularly poor job on that dumb war, uncritically peddling outright lies.

The Nation Magazine has somewhat more sane suggestions than most outlets in this crazy moment.


Rain Trueax said...

Part of the problem is our desire for instant answers; so we are bombarded with information on something like Crimea, but it comes from all sides.

Right now I am watching almost zero news on television. When I do, I watch the political station in the evening with Chris Hayes and/or Rachel Maddow. I don't pretend it's not all about politics or that it's all the news. There can, however, be some good reporting there even if it's angled one direction. I don't think they lie but they do have a political viewpoint. I don't kid myself about what it is-- like those who watch Fox apparently do.

For the last few weeks, I've been getting all my news online from reading newspapers (some from other countries) and news gathering sites. Any subject though is bombarded by opinions-- anonymous or expert. To demand a definitive answer on something like the Ukraine has us choosing a side we'd rather believe. Same situation with the Malaysian airliner. Even if they find the wreckage, we may never know why it happened, but you can bet we will be given reasons-- a lot of them usually.

I think our need for answers has explained some of our gains as a species but probably also some of the losses. It's unfortunate definitive answers are often the last thing we really can get.

Hattie said...

I've been looking at your photo blog and am inspired to do something similar for Hilo. You have a great eye for this. I'll try this out and see if I can come up with a few things.

janinsanfran said...

I think of 596 Precincts as training to see. One aspect of what I am seeing is the determination with which people try to put their individual stamps on even mundane environments. And, of course, San Francisco abounds in exceptional environments. I suspect you will find you have a terrific eye for Hilo!

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