For Better or for Fear

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Chapters 7 & 8 in It ain't Necessarily So

So for 7, it seems as though spreading fear among the people is actually what the people want. Though we all suspected that anyway right. It makes sense the something really important that threatens your life will get your attention. That's why there was so much fuss about breast cancer and smoking. And this takes us back to statistics. Anyone can make a statistic work; and by work I mean you can make it support whatever side of the story your writing about.(hopefully that's not the case since as journalists we aim to be non-biased) But without the hated word drama, what would be exciting and catching about news anymore? "Breaking News! bunny's are even cuter than ever!!" or would you rather hear about, "Breaking News! Mutant rabbits terrorize your neighborhood!"  This quote from chapter 7 really says it; "..the risk free society is an impossibility: all we can do is choose---one hopes intelligently--among the variety of possible risks that confront us."(pg 128)

If you don't report something i guess it can't be used in the statistic. In chapter 8 we explore how some cases may say, for instance, that the number of reported child abuse cases are going up, but that doesn't necessarily mean that there are more abused children; It might just mean there are more being reported. Maybe people were being quiet about it before, but now they want to talk. In some cases, such as for disease, reports may increase not because there are more cases, but because the technology to locate it are more accurate and advanced. And not all Americans know to take things with a grain of salt. In fact, most Americans rely on and trust the news to deliver them with accurate information, which is the way it should be.... 



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Jackie Johns said:

You make an interesting point - As members of society attempting to outsmart the many perils of life, we like to feel or think that various risks are minimal. When it comes to hearing the latest news story, however, the public is ultra-sensitive to stories of risk, even more so when they are played up by the media. Whenever a story of high risk something-or-other breaks, it snowballs into an all out frenzy that's fueled not only by the media, but by people as well.

EllenEinsporn said:

The quote that you chose from chapter 7 in IANS("the risk free society is an impossibility...") struck me as well. There are so many groups committed to ending the risks we face daily. This statement makes these organizations seem kind of pointless. While the existence of some of these groups might help some people sleep better at night, I wonder how much they actually decrease the risks for whatever they are fighting against. The example IANS gave about STOP (Safe Tables Our Priority), an organization geared towards decreasing amount of E. coli found in the meat Americans eat. IANS stresses that the inspection methods STOP favors are not as effective as other preventative methods STOP ironically opposes. According to IANS, "an Inspector could not look at a sample of beef with any confidence that it was representative of the whole." In other words, one part of a carcass can contain bacteria while another part of the same carcass might not. While STOP continues to support this unreliable method, it does not support the simple method of asking consumers to cook their meat at a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which would effectively kill any bacteria because they regard this method as "blaming the victim." Furthermore, STOP does not support irradiation methods, even though they would effectively eliminate any and all bacteria within the entire carcass. This example made me very skeptical about such organizations. I find it slightly disconcerting that organizations such as STOP function under the pretense that they want to help the public by reducing consumer risk, and, yet, they oppose the most effective methods of reducing this risk.

Michelle Polly said:

I agree with what you are saying. It really does seem that people thirst for the bad or something that is big enough to affect them which most of the time is fear. I also think that there is more good than bad, but thats my opinion, therefore the bad is what is read about and shows more interest. You made a good point!

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