Thursday, May 17, 2007

Do people listen to the news?

I've never been a big watcher of the news. As the Dallas NBC slogan goes, "Not Just What Happens, What Matters." Uh-huh, why do you have to point it out in your slogan then?

Anyway, tonight the news was on after I finished watching The Office so I caught a couple minutes of it. They were reporting about the increasing minority population in the US. They said that in Texas minorities were already 50% of the population, and that they had passed the number in the majority in 2006. WHAT?!? I understand there is more than one minority group, so the total percentage of minority groups combined could be over 50%. But, if minorities are at 50% of the population, then how can they have PASSED the number in the majority? 50% is an even split. Also, if they truly have breached the 50% mark, then the majority is no more! If you have 4 population groups of 25% each, you no longer have a majority! Good grief. Do they simply mean Caucasians?

So I'm curious what most people, that are actually trying to pay attention to the news, think when they hear something like this? Do they make there own assumptions about what is meant, and then accept that as factual? Sadly, I suspect many make the assumptions and accept it without even realizing the assumptions were made. I would guess in this example they were trying to say something like all the groups that were minorities before 2006 combined in 2006 to be about 52%, while the number of Caucasians (now a minority group as well) fell that year to about 48%. But regardless of what they intended, I am not going to trust a news channel to properly interpret statistical data, which can be very tricky and presented in very misleading ways, when they can not even get their English to make sense. :)

2 comments:

Jason & Nicole said...

I don't watch the news any more than you do, apparently. Sometimes, though not much more often, I listen to stuff on National Public Radio. I like how they talk.

You bringing up the hidden issue of assumptions points to every form of media, I think, especially mass.

Jason

Noel and Celeste said...

It points to every form of everything! That's like 98%!