Friday, April 14, 2006

Liberal media? Try manipulative media.

An AP news report was released yesterday about a person who died after health complications stemming from a Disney World rocketship ride. As tragic as that sounds, the tragedy is how the story was conveyed.

You see, it’s not the overall story – it’s little bits here and there that seem hardly noticeable until you consider the big picture. For example, consider this quote:

“Disney officials told state inspectors Wednesday that the woman felt dizzy and nauseated after getting off the ride, and may have suffered from high blood pressure and other health problems, Terence McElroy, a state agriculture spokesman, told the Orlando Sentinel.”

If you can see past the grammatical error, you’ll see that the official was coyly passing the buck. “May have suffered from high blood pressure and other health problems.” That to me is a gross statement. Do you know how many Americans have high blood pressure? One million? Five million? Try 65 million. That’s right – nearly one out of every three Americans over the age of 20 have high blood pressure according to the American Heart Association and the US census. And other health problems? What, did the lady suffer from acne? Please! Shame on the official for making such an observation, and shame on the AP editors for allowing the grammatical error through, and shame on the reporter for including that statement next to the word “official” and biasing the view to make it seem as though nothing was wrong with the statement.

Why does that seem so crazy to me? The official could have said, “The woman felt dizzy and nauseated after getting off the ride, and may have been human.” The media through the official’s quote are trying to manipulate us into thinking, “well, she had health problems, so she should have thought twice before getting on that ride.” NO! That’s not how this works! Disney World’s (and other theme parks’) rides have serious health risks, no matter how unlikely the risk is. A single sign that says “For safety you should be in good health, and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness or other conditions that can be aggravated by this adventure” is not acceptable. The side effects, including DEATH, should be listed as prevalently as the FDA’s medicine warning requirements.

The article continues, “Two adults in poor health and a 12-year-old Virginia girl died last year at Walt Disney World, out of the millions who visit the park each year.”

There are three things that really get me here. First of all, the words “in poor health” really irk me. Again, they’re passing the buck. “Well, they had poor health so what do they expect?” NO!!!! That is NOT what we should be thinking!

And “out of the millions who visit the park each year.” There are two things wrong with this – first of all, “each year” is irrelevant – we’re talking about “last year.” And “millions who visit the park” - out of those millions, how many were risky enough to ride the lethal rides? Half? A third? Not likely. Sure, I’ll buy that thousands of people rode the lethal rides, but still – four out of thousands is still four.

The point here is that these little snippets of innocent comments make a huge impact on the unquestioning reader. This is just one article. It happens almost every day. The media is extremely manipulative. They are there for one purpose: get viewers to look at advertisements. How do they do that? If it bleeds, it leads.

By the way, never trust a positive movie review you read on major news sites. Why? The parent company usually owns the movie and has a vested interest in making sure the reviews are good, no matter how bad the movie is.


Anonymous Brent O'Connor said...

Plugged In Online has really good movie reviews. They aren't biased by the Hollywood studios that produced the movies, but instead are biased by the Christian perspective. I'm ok with that because I know their bias and I take that into consideration and think about that critically.

I think every needs to realize that every single news source is going to be biased in one way or the other. You can't just simply shut your brain off and watch or read the news. You have to think critically and try to balance what they say with what you know to be reasonable.

9:49 AM  

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