We were watching the NBC evening news yesterday and, as sometimes happens, the family banned me from the TV room.
READ THE FINE PRINT Friday, Feb 9th, 2007
Ok... once in a while, maybe every other day, I get a little miffed at the writers and editors of the various "journalism" companies. Then I go ballistic. What right do they have to mislead the public by proclaiming their uninformed, misquoted, and largely unsupported nonsense as "news"?!
This time they went too far!
We were watching an interesting segment on the incidence and effects of autism and I was deeply into feeling sympathy and wanting to offer support to the family featured.
Then Brokaw went into the "scientific" part of the segment. Seems that the investigators at NBC found that the incidence of autism in children in the U.S. had increased from 1:160 to 1:156. This was hammered home in voice and graphic numbers as if it were the most important part of the segment. They even had talking heads, MDs with research grants to justify, bemoaning the autism plague that was overtaking America's youth.
Then, with subdued emphasis - almost like the disclaimers that flash on the screen in fine print during commercials, the announcer slipped in the disclaimer that the NBC legal department probably required... The ability to diagnose autism has greatly increased over the past 20 years and, here's the good part, the definition of autism has been expanded during the same period, probably to include such things as severe attention deficit and conditions induced by physical trauma. Then it was back to heightened emphasis and a re-statement of the horror of the increased incidence of autism to close the segment.
That's like having a bag of marbles; 6 red, 2 purple, 1 green, and 1 yellow - and redefining "purple" to be "red" which gives you 8 red, 1 green, and 1 yellow.
By golly, you're right!!! There are more red ones than when I looked last time!
I lost it!
Lucinda and J sent me outside to smoke so they could hear the rest of the news.
Yep... I fell off the wagon - smoking again. And, yes, I do read the fine print on the side of the cigarette package.
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