Update 2019 02 22: Added link to What do all school shooters have in common?
John Stossel produced and published a video that debunks the myth that mass shootings are far more common in the United States than they are anywhere else in the world.
(The link to the video that is supposed to be displayed here may take some time to load. Refreshing the page may make it load faster the second time. If you are impatient, click on this link to an alternative copy of the YouTube video: “Media Hype Questionable Gun Control Study“)
The reaction by some who welcome those news is predictable. For example,
“Another brilliant exposure of the deviant agenda by people who hate America.”
That is an overreaction. At least to some extent, Occam’s Razor (the problem-solving principle that essentially states that “simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones”) must be applied. Don’t assume a conspiracy when simple stupidity will suffice to explain why a screw-up happened.
The study by University of Alabama Professor Adam Lankford that started it all is a product of shoddy research (the evidence of which he is naturally not voluntarily disclosing). That is not necessarily due to ill will but more likely due to laziness. Still, it makes the study report as false as a deliberate lie would have. Now to the second part of the story.
Media Bias and Fake News
Lies always take on a life of their own, a lively one when they deliver what people expect or wish to hear. None of the individuals who propagate the lies need to do it out of ill will, but those endowed with ill will propagate the lies as eagerly as anyone else, out of greed for attention or simply to raise circulation numbers to increase advertising revenues.
Nevertheless, all who promote the lies neglected to check the veracity of the false claims, either deliberately or out of laziness.
Half of the blame lies with all those who bought into the lie that the United States outrank every other country, with respect to mass shootings. They are as guilty as the originator and those who simply passed it on without questioning it. Unfortunately, given that there is essentially nothing in place to hold journalists accountable, the media will more readily produce what their audience is inclined to want to hear than do the work required to give their audience the uncomfortable truth, namely that the disclosure is not as horrible as many wish it to be.
That is the nature of media bias. Call it media prostitution if you want. Still, it makes the media the most prolific producers of fake news.
At least Donald Trump has the common sense to see it for what it is. He expressed it in terms that the common man can understand, to paraphrase: “Fake news. I don’t want to hear from you. You media guys produce fake news, nothing but fake news.” He is right, not necessarily in absolute terms but generally. The MSM hate him for it.
Most fake news appear to come from the mainstream media (MSM). At the very least, they reach a large sector of the potential audience. The social media now give the MSM a run for their money. The reach of fake news produced by the MSM is shrinking, while that of fake news produced by the social media is growing, which has the MSM worried. Don’t fall for any of it.
Here are some tips on how to avoid falling for fake news.
h/t Paul Neubauer
- Deliberately killing people creates horror
- Mass killer, spree killer, rampage killer, serial killer…?
- The White Rose : Examination of Bias
- Caught: Media-prostitutes and their clients
- Propaganda Tactics: Blurring of Definitions
- Australian Govt Admission: We Censor Websites
- Flushing hubby down the drain is not news