It Ain't Necessarily So: How the Media Remake Our Picture of Reality / Edition 1by David Murray
Pub. Date: 10/01/2002
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Anthrax scares. Airplane crashes. The AIDS epidemic. Presidential election polls and voting results. Global warming. All these news stories require scientific savvy, first to report, and then-for the average person-to understand. It Ain't Necessarily So cuts through the confusion and inaccuracies surrounding media reporting of scientific studies, surveys, and statistics. Whether the problem is bad science, media politics, or a simple lack of information or knowledge, this book gives news consumers the tools to penetrate the hype and dig out the facts.
Author Biography: David Murray is director of the Statistical Assessment Service in Washington, D.C., and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.
Joel Schwartz is senior adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute.
S. Robert Lichter is president of the Center for Media and Public Affairs in Washington, D.C.
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Table of Contents
|Introduction Making News and Making Sense: The News That's "Fit to Print"||1|
|Part I||The Ambiguity of News|
|Chapter 1||The News That isn't There: Stories That Are--and Aren't--Covered||17|
|Chapter 2||Much Ado About Little: Making News Mountains out of Research Molehills||35|
|Part II||The Ambiguity of Measurement|
|Chapter 3||Bait and Switch: Understanding "Tomato" Statistics||57|
|Chapter 4||The Perils of Proxies: Is There a There There?||71|
|Chapter 5||Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full? A Look at Statistics from Both Sides Now||85|
|Chapter 6||Polls Apart: The Gertrude Stein Approach to Making Sense of Contradictory Surveys||97|
|Chapter 7||The Reality and Rhetoric of Risk: Telling It Like It Is--and Isn't||115|
|Chapter 8||Distinguishing "Reports" from Reality: Confusing the Map with the Territory||133|
|Part III||The Ambiguity of Explanation|
|Chapter 9||Blaming the Messenger, Ignoring the Message: Do Motives Matter?||147|
|Chapter 10||Tunnel Vision and Blind Spots: The Danger of Hedgehog Interpretations||163|
|Conclusion: Hard to Tell: Journalism, Science, and Public Policy--An Inherent Conflict?||175|
|Afterword: The Anthrax Feeding Frenzy||197|
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