Thursday, December 30, 2004

As always the media is behind the curve

In response to Gib's post here, I said,

"But in their study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2001, they wrote that in Maryland, "a pregnant or recently pregnant woman is more likely to be a victim of homicide than to die of any other cause.""

I would just like to point out that one of the three main causes of men between the age of 20 and 25 is homicides. The other two are suicides and car fatalities.

I did some checking and for women it is the second cause of death in this age group (that age group for women also happens to be the age group with the most pregnancies women)so in other words I am not surprised"

Fox news correctly identifies this Washington Post series by journalist Donna St. George entitled "Pregnancy and Homicide: The Known Toll" , as sensationalist propaganda.

Good job fox news.



Andrew said...

When you say "sensationalist propoganda", I think you give too much credit to the journalist. I'm much more prone to say "poor research and analysis skills".

Journalists take a lot of writing, coverage, and editing courses during their training, but aren't taught the relevance of statistical and other forms of analysis that are just as important to their job as investigators. Without it, they need to rely on "authoritative" sources or else their own (probably wrong) intuitions about analysis and statistics. So they pull some data from a statistical database and write an article about it, all without realizing that the data doesn't mean what they think it means when put into a broader context.

Bloggers are even worse.

Cubicle said...

what is that theory.

never attribute anything to malicious intent when it can be attributed to stupidity frist.

do i have that right?

also, the simplest explanation is the most likly.

the fact that the journalist sucks proably cannot be discounted, but you would think that a regualr guy like my self who has never had any training in reseach statitics could see where the reporter when wrong, you would think that the reporter could also find their errors.

No they did not get training, but they are also not dumb, in my opionion

Dave Justus said...

I would guess it is a result of 'stupidity' or I prefer ignorance and the fact that the result fits in with a pre-concieved notion of the world. For example, if I come across a statistical 'fact' that fits in with the way I think the world works I am unlikely to think critically about it. When combined with an ignorance of statistics, knowledge that might lead me to doubt this 'fact' even if it fits my preconceptions, I am unlikely to research, or even think very critically about the data I have unearthed.

I think Andrews point that this is more likely laziness and ignorance than malice is very valid however.

The real downside is that because so many journalists share the same basic worldview they often have a difficult time fact checking each other.

While individual bloggers certainly make this sort of mistake, because bloggers as a group are pretty diverse it is far more likely to be caught and challenged for validity.