Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quick but seismic illustration...

...of my oft-made point about Big Journalism's institutional tendency to invert reality, such that what you see on TV may well be the opposite of what really happened. (Btw, if you haven't yet read my long article in Skeptic, it's still on the stands.)

You probably heard that earlier today there was an earthquake in Los Angeles, magnitude 5.4. That is a relatively minor event, as these things go—I slept through a similar one, once, when we lived in San Diego—and property damage, by all reports, was negligible. So what does ABC correspondent Miguel Marquez do? He finds a spray of bricks that fell to the street from one of the very few structures that suffered some damage, and he files his report on the quake, for World News With Charles Gibson, virtually standing in the mini-rubble.

LMAO. Literally.


UPDATE, WEDNESDAY, 7:30 a.m. VEGAS TIME. So this morning CBS correspondent Ben Tracy is reporting from in front of the same freakin' bulding...and he's holding a brick! (I guess that's to kill any nearby birds that may be carrying avian flu...)


Anonymous said...

Southern California is a bunch of wimps! It was only a 5.4 quake. Geeze, they cry when it rains too. Japan, Greece, and Turkey would have called that quake a tremble.

Southern California is the media capital of the world. Of course they are going to milk it for all its worth.

Anonymous said...

I read your Skeptic piece, Steve, and "opposite of reality" is too strong a term, but I definitely get your point. It's the same one you made about the Dateline piece on gastric bypass, where they tell the story of a surgery that succeeds 90% of the time in terms of the 10% where it failed. Dave Skutches

Steve Salerno said...

Actually, it's worse than what you've said here: The success rate for gastric bypass is 99.5%, so Dateline was telling the story in terms of just .5% of all cases--or 1 fatality in 200 surgeries (if my math is correct).

Btw, this wouldn't happen to be the same Dave Skutches who plays ball in my Lehigh Valley league...?

Anonymous said...

The line about avian flu is priceless, keep up the great work!