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An anchor was interviewing some general about the elections in Iraq. He actually asked, paraphrased,

"[The military is out in force, keeping the peace, ensuring safety on voting day.] Instead of saying one roadside bomb went off in Iraq today, wouldn't it be better to say that 99% of the country didn't have a roadside bomb go off?"

Flabbergasted. Among the least of my concerns about that statement is the fact that 1% is a helluva lot of country.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ghudson
Jan. 31st, 2005 07:44 am (UTC)
I get what the quoted person is saying. The news media focuses on the most spectacular aspects of the situation in Iraq, which makes people think things are going worse there than they are. (The news media may also be omitting negative non-spectacular information as well, of course.)

Somewhat ironically, the current cnn.com lead story seems to actually be about 99% of the country not having a roadside bomb go off, more or less. "Sporadic violence doesn't deter Iraqi voters" is the headline, and one of the statistics is that 98.8% of the polling centers which were planned to open actually did. Only at paragraph seven do you hear of the 28 deaths and 71 injuries from scattered attacks.
dpolicar
Jan. 31st, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
Well, sure.
But by the same reasoning, it's inappropriate to devote all this attention to Iraq in the first place, rather than reporting on all the countries that have no particular crisis going on and in which nothing especially interesting is happening.
I agree with the sentiment that to focus exclusively on the negative is to paint a distorted picture. But one has to draw a distinction between reporters (and viewers) who only find negative things interesting, and situations in which all the interesting things happen to be negative.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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