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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 12/1/2001 7:07:32 AM EDT
Los Angeles Times: TV News Distorts Nature of Violent Risk, Study Says http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-000095531dec01.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dcalifornia LOS ANGELES TV News Distorts Nature of Violent Risk, Study Says Media: The emphasis on stories with a tragic visual component gives a false impression, researchers say. By CHARLES ORNSTEIN TIMES HEALTH WRITER December 1 2001 Local television news programs distort their coverage of traumatic deaths and injuries, emphasizing violence and giving viewers an unbalanced portrayal of the risks they face in everyday life, according to a new study by UCLA researchers. Nine Los Angeles TV stations--including two Spanish-language outlets--covered nearly all murders and aviation and fire deaths in the county during late 1996 and early 1997, the period covered by the study. The stations gave far less air time to less-violent traffic accidents, falls and accidental poisonings, the researchers wrote in the December issue of the Western Journal of Medicine. "It's clear that the portrayal doesn't match reality," said David McArthur, an epidemiologist at the UCLA School of Medicine and lead author of the study. "In some very significant areas, the local news is presenting but a mere snippet of the range of possibilities." Previous studies have shown that people perceive their personal risks based upon what they read and see on television. The UCLA researchers say their study, an effort to compare depictions of risk with actual perils, is the first to correlate news coverage with actual events. The problem with having an erroneous perception of violent risks is that people don't necessarily take the proper precautions against less-violent perils that are just as likely or more so to occur, McArthur said. Several of the TV stations contacted for comment on the study did not return telephone calls. A spokeswoman for one, KNBC-TV, said managers there had not seen the study and could not comment. UCLA researchers studied 1,134 broadcasts over 63 days. They then examined death records and hospital reports from all traumatic events. The study, conducted under the auspices of the Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center at UCLA, did not break down results according to each TV outlet. Among the findings: * Local TV newscasts reported on 47.8% of the traumatic deaths in Los Angeles County, but only on 3.4% of traumatic injuries. * Deaths from murders, air crashes, fire, weather or environmental factors and police shootings represented nearly two-thirds of all news coverage of traumatic deaths in late 1996 and early 1997. But they accounted for just 31% of the traumatic deaths in Los Angeles County during the same period.
Link Posted: 12/1/2001 7:08:02 AM EDT
* Deaths due to car crashes were portrayed about 35% less than their actual occurrence. Accidental fatal poisonings were covered less than 5% of the time. Drowning deaths were covered about a quarter of the time. Part of the reason for the coverage, McArthur said, is that TV news directors tend to run only stories that have a visual component. "Obviously, the attention is going to be drawn to something that's violent, something that's unexpected, something that's tragic," he said. "On the other hand, these folks that die after falling, they didn't expect to fall, and their death in many ways is equally tragic," McArthur said. USC sociologist Barry Glassner, who did not participate in the study, agreed with its conclusions. "If you want to know where your real dangers lie out in the world, TV news is not a good place to get your information," said Glassner, author of the 1999 book "The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things." "If you watch TV news, you'd get the impression that the crime rate has stayed high when, really, it has decreased substantially. You would hardly know that one of your greatest dangers is on the roadways, and you would have virtually no sense that common, everyday accidents are as prevalent as they are." Both McArthur and Glassner point to a slogan that has long been associated with TV news decisions, "If it bleeds, it leads." "It really is almost a governing principle," Glassner said. "There's no reason why TV news can't be interesting and can't attract an audience while reporting on real dangers." For information about reprinting this article, go to http://www.lats.com
Link Posted: 12/1/2001 7:38:49 AM EDT
"They got a bubble headed bleach blonde, she comes on at '5. She can tell ya bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye. People love it when you die, gives them dirty laundry." Why would the news cover old grandma Lucile that fell off the porch, broke her hip, and later died in the hospital. They want exciting, controversial, terrifying crap. The news is gonna cover the stuff that makes people say "Oh my God, I can't believe that happened!".
Link Posted: 12/1/2001 8:05:32 AM EDT
"If it bleeds, it leads," mentality. I have often heard people say that USA television news is like junk food for the mind. After 30 minutes of watching it, you still don't know anymore about the subject. The content is very shallow, and they never seem to mention to mention specifics unless they were advocating something. I have found that the news from the BBC and ITN on the PBS stations to be more substantial, ie more news rather than images. Yeah, I know they are all anti-gun, but at least you don't have to give them real out-of-the pocket money.
Link Posted: 12/1/2001 12:11:55 PM EDT
On Sean Hannity's radio show last night, he talked with Matt Drudge about a new book (reviewed on drudgereport.com) coming out in January: [u]Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the News Media Distorts the News[/u]. Here's the article: http://[url]http://www.drudgereport.com/matt91i.htm[/url]
Link Posted: 12/1/2001 12:17:53 PM EDT
If Rather is going to hate it I'm going to love it.
Link Posted: 12/1/2001 12:29:46 PM EDT
If they don't think car crashes produce "violent deaths" they haven't been to many car crashes. Is it that they over emphasize violent deaths or under report "other" deaths? If they reported on all the deaths or traumatic injuries every day there would be nothing else on the news.
Link Posted: 12/1/2001 12:56:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/1/2001 12:53:59 PM EDT by Big_Bear]
Link Posted: 12/1/2001 1:09:52 PM EDT
Remember folks, today the news is regarded as entertainment by the people running the stations. It must attract an audience just like any other shows. In the days of yore, i.e. before Viet Nam & Nixon's Watergate scandal, TV news was a money loser, but today it is definitely a money maker, except of course when they have a super disaster such as the WTC attack.
Link Posted: 12/3/2001 11:24:36 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/6/2001 6:55:00 PM EDT
Bumping this back to the top in light of todays shooting in Indiana and how the media grossly exaggerated the initial reports so people would watch.
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