It Ain't Necessarily So: How The Media Remake Our Picture Of Reality

Paperback | September 24, 2002

byDavid Murray, Joel Schwartz, S. Robert Lichter

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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.

"Whether it's a scientific study on day care or health care, hunger in America or the environment, once it gets into the hands of journalists - look out! You may think you're getting the straight story - but it ain't necessarily so, as this aptly named book makes clear. But beware: It Ain't Necessarily So may confirm your worst fears about the media. Which is precisely why it's such an important contribution to our understanding of how things really operate inside the American newsroom." (Bernard Goldberg, author of Bias)

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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 scientif...

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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Format:PaperbackPublished:September 24, 2002Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0142001465

ISBN - 13:9780142001462

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Table of Contents

Prologue
Introduction: Making News and Making Sense: The News That's "Fit to Print"

Part I: The Ambiguity of News
Chapter 1: The News That Isn't There: Stories That Are - and Aren't - Covered
Chapter 2: Much Ado about Little: Making News Mountains Out of Research Molehills

Part II: The Ambiguity of Measurement
Chapter 3: Bait and Switch: Understanding "Tomato" Statistics
Chapter 4: The Perils of Proxies: Is There a There There?
Chapter 5: Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full?: A Look at Statistics from Both Sides Now
Chapter 6: Polls Apart: The Gertrude Stein Approach to Making Sense of Contradictory Surveys
Chapter 7: The Reality and Rhetoric of Risk: Telling It Like It Is - and Isn't
Chapter 8: Distinguishing "Reports" from Reality: Confusing the Map with the Territory

Part III: The Ambiguity of Explanation
Chapter 9: Blaming the Messenger, Ignoring the Message: Do Motives Matter?
Chapter 10: Tunnel Vision and Blind Spots: The Danger of Hedgehod Interpretations
Conclusion: Hard to Tell: Journalism, Science, and Public Policy - An Inherent Conflict?

Afterword: The Anthrax Feeding Frenzy
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Whether it's a scientific study on day care or health care, hunger in America or the environment, once it gets into the hands of journalists—look out! You may think you're getting the straight story—but it ain't necessarily so, as this aptly named book makes clear. But beware: It Ain't Necessarily So may confirm your worst fears about the media. Which is precisely why it's such an important contribution to our understanding of how things really operate inside the American newsroom." —Bernard Goldberg, author of Bias"Wonderful reading." —Chicago Tribune