View Full Version : US news sources suck

04-29-2009, 10:51 AM
Warning: this isn't about gaming at all.

So I read a bit of news this morning like I do most mornings and find there is more random nonsense about the swine flu. They have now found 1 verified case of a death from the swine flu in the US. The news seems to be making a pretty deal about it, but as usual they are leaving out all context and making it as sensational as possible. Before I go further let me state that the victim was a 2 year old child. I don't even want to imagine what losing one of your children is like. My heart goes out to the child's family.

But this is why I don't like the news. There is never any context. They just want to make a big deal out of everything. Anyways, so there has been 1 death from swine flu so far (in the US). So I was curious how many deaths are caused by just the normal flu each year. According to the CDC it's about 36,000 a year. 36,000! So far just this year there have been around 13,000 deaths from the flu and according to an article I found there has been at minimum 800 deaths for every week of this year. So this week in all likelihood more than 800 people, mostly the old and very young, will die from just your normal every day flu. The normal flu is not new and not exciting, so most of our news sources are going to go on and on about the swine flu and make it seem like it's the next plague.

What they should be reporting is that the swine flu is a new strain (for humans at least) and that none of us likely has any kind of immunity to it, so it has the potential to be a problem. So it does make sense to be somewhat cautious as a group so it doesn't spread too far, too fast. However, it's likely that the regular flu will kill way more people this year, so there is absolutely no reason to panic about anything. They should also be answering some basic questions. How contagious is it compared to normal flu? What's the death rate compared to the normal flu? What are some sensible precautions? And what should we do about the normal flu?

For people that are older than me, were news sources ever based on reporting the news in a neutral way, with some useful context, and that wasn't based purely on getting higher ratings?

04-29-2009, 08:04 PM
I'm 30, so I'm probably younger than you, but I think you are correct in your feeling that the news sources/reporting seems to be changing.

To me it feels like they are generally shifting towards entertainment. This is a problem for many reasons including the bird flu issue you have brought up. By entertainment I don't just mean that there's a ton of "reporting" on Britney Spears, I mean more that it's becoming sensasionalized and partisanized.

Although the media is certainly to blame, we as a public are, too. News coverage is still a business and it can't pay the bills unless there is a sustainable economic model and it really seems like sources that aren't sensasionalizing and partisanizing are going out of business.

My hope is that this is a cyclical thing and people will eventually get sick of it and it will shift back towards reporting. However, we will have to do our part and find some way for our might (our dollars) to finance what we all feel like is real news. I don't really know exactly how to do that, but there must be a good way to do it. Oh well.

04-30-2009, 09:57 AM
Yeah, I've been thinking about that too. Does anyone use any web news sources that are relatively neutral and actually presents news in context? I personally would switch over almost instantly if I could find a better source(s).

My other problem with this swine flu thing, is that right now it's not really that big of a deal, but it does have the potential to be a huge problem. However, if the media hypes it up way too much right now for ratings, will anyone still be paying any attention if it does become a big deal?

Delilah Rehm
05-01-2009, 10:16 AM
Don't forget this problem - institutions respond to the mood of the mob. In my area (North Texas), all boy scout and girl scout activities have been postponed (at least until May 11), and all public school field trips have been canceled. :eek:

And I still don't know how contagious the swine flu is compare to other common illnesses; also how deadly is it compared to other common illnesses? Gah! I'm guessing perhaps more spreadable but same in deadliness, however, maybe the CDC is more concerned because there is no preventative swine flu shot at this point.

Delilah Rehm
05-01-2009, 05:31 PM
One school in our city just closed until May 11.

My elementary aged daughter told me she has to bring a water bottle for the rest of the year because they aren't allowed to use the water fountains anymore.

05-02-2009, 03:30 PM
Right now my favorite news sources are news.bbc.co.uk and factcheck.org (I know that factcheck isn't really a news source, but hey, it sure is usefuly.

05-02-2009, 11:48 PM
Swine flu has a very high mortality ratio compaired to other variants of the flu, although no exact number can be decided on at this time(currect numbers put it at around 7% though, which is HUGE).

Swine flu also has a nasty habit of killing the perfectly healthy 20 somethings, rather than the very old or young, no idea how that works.

Swine flu is rather contagious, but you don't need any stupid precautions, just avoid entering confined spaces with sick individuals, wash your hands before you eat or put them on your face(rubbing your nose = bad) and there should be almost no risk of infection.

Any questions I missed?