It Ain't Necessarily So: How the Media Remake Our Picture of Reality

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9780142001462: It Ain't Necessarily So: How the Media Remake Our Picture of Reality

Anthrax scares. Airplane crashes. The AIDS epidemic. Presidential election polls and voting results. Global warming. All these news stories require scientific savvy, first to report, and then-for the average person-to understand. It Ain't Necessarily So cuts through the confusion and inaccuracies surrounding media reporting of scientific studies, surveys, and statistics. Whether the problem is bad science, media politics, or a simple lack of information or knowledge, this book gives news consumers the tools to penetrate the hype and dig out the facts.

"Whether it's a scientific study on day care or health care, hunger in America or the environment, once it gets into the hands of journalists - look out! You may think you're getting the straight story - but it ain't necessarily so, as this aptly named book makes clear. But beware: It Ain't Necessarily So may confirm your worst fears about the media. Which is precisely why it's such an important contribution to our understanding of how things really operate inside the American newsroom." (Bernard Goldberg, author of Bias)

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About the Author:

David Murray is director of the Statistical Assessment Service in Washington, D.C., and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

Joel Schwartz is senior adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute.


S. Robert Lichter is president of the Center for Media and Public Affairs in Washington, D.C.

From Publishers Weekly:

What should readers make of the news report stating that minority mortgage applications are refused twice as often as those of white applicants, when another one claims that their applications are approved 89% as often? How are we to evaluate the various scientific reports we come across every day? Washington, D.C.-based social scientists Murray, Schwartz and Lichter (Lichter is the co-author of Peepshow and other books) demonstrate how journalists can put a spin on research results to make them conform to preexisting beliefs, and, alternatively, how complicated findings can be easily and innocently misinterpreted. When politicians get hold of the news reports, the qualifiers found in the original research too often disappear as the pols seize upon a potentially troublesome finding and attempt to "do something about" it. Yet, as the authors fairly point out, the fault doesn't always lie with the messenger. Sometimes researchers use proxies instead of direct measurements, using income as a proxy for poverty, for example. And often, seemingly paradoxical results confuse everyone: a decline in the number of cases of a disease can still result in an increase in the percentage of total illnesses if other ailments have declined even more. The authors do a thorough job of pointing out the fallacies and errors that underlie much reporting on science such as widespread reports that male sperm counts have decreased over the decades (a good look at the evidence, they claim, shows the conclusion was based on insufficient figures). Readers from all walks of life will acquire a more critical eye from this thought-provoking examination of how science gets served up for our early-morning reading and postprandial evening news.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Anthrax scares. Airplane crashes. The AIDS epidemic. Presidential election polls and voting results. Global warming. All these news stories require scientific savvy, first to report, and then-for the average person-to understand. It Ain t Necessarily So cuts through the confusion and inaccuracies surrounding media reporting of scientific studies, surveys, and statistics. Whether the problem is bad science, media politics, or a simple lack of information or knowledge, this book gives news consumers the tools to penetrate the hype and dig out the facts. Whether it s a scientific study on day care or health care, hunger in America or the environment, once it gets into the hands of journalists - look out! You may think you re getting the straight story - but it ain t necessarily so, as this aptly named book makes clear. But beware: It Ain t Necessarily So may confirm your worst fears about the media. Which is precisely why it s such an important contribution to our understanding of how things really operate inside the American newsroom. (Bernard Goldberg, author of Bias). Bookseller Inventory # FLT9780142001462

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