Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Mainstream Media (MSM) At Its Best

On the brink of the 3rd year anniversary of the Iraq War, we had visions of 1968 Vietnam protests occuring all over the United States. What did we end up having?

Quiet disapproval in US marks war’s anniversary

This is called an argument from silence fallacy. You use the lack of evidence to prove your point. So, the lack of protest shows just how deep seated is the anger and frustration over George Bush and his war! Why? Ah, yes, the polls, the media's report card.

So how does an "objective newsgathering person" without any agenda look at these events? Just look at the AP; they didn't disappoint! This story was spread all over the globe, just like the massive protests:

War Opponents Protest Around the Globe

If we take a quote from the article and parse it logically, what will we have:

"(AP) The third anniversary of the U.S.-led war in Iraq drew tens of thousands of protesters around the globe, from hurricane-ravaged Louisiana to Australia, with chants of "Stop the War" and calls for the withdrawal of troops."

Okay, tens of thousands "around the globe" protested. This is like really, really big!

However, before we let our emotions dictate our view of reality, let's look at reality with the lens of logic, specifically logical induction. Induction always moves from particulars (evidence, facts etc.) to a generalization: the whole world is against George Bush. This is what one citizen from Japan said:

"The Iraq war was President Bush's big mistake and the whole world is against him," said organizer Ayako Nishimura. "Iraq must decide its own affairs."

So, let's do a tally and see if the generalization is supported by the facts. On the anniversary day, aw heck, let's figure in the weekend too:

New York: 200 people, then 1000 on Saturday in Times Square, 1,200.
Tokyo, Japan: 800, but there were 2000 the day before, to get us warmed up, so the total is 2800.
Toronto: 1000 people
London, England: 15,000 people, (down 2/3 from last year)
Chicago, Ill USA: 7,000 people on Saturday.
Chalmette National Cemetery : 200, who also protested Katrina (isn't this cheating, I'll count it anyway, they need all the numbers they can get)
Boston, Portland, San Fransisco: unknown

Plus, other numbers not in the AP (I'm too nice)

Hollowwood CA: 1,000 actor-people (each actor counts for 3 people each since they're so much smarter than the rest of us) 3000 total.
Point Pleasant, MI: 90 people
Cindy Sheehan Land: 1 person.

What's the total? 28,291 people.

Now, if the population of the world is 8.2 billion, and there are over 1.2 billion Muslims, that leaves 7 billion non-Muslims in the world. I know this is a leap, but since the Muslim world celebrated 9/11, I'm taking a huge risk by saying that they don't like the War In Iraq, so they probably protested too. So, I'll have to include them in the numbers of potential protestors. With 28,291 people protesting, the percentage of protestors will be:

.0003453% !!!! .003453% of the entire population of the globe protested against the Iraq War! That's like 3.453 people for every million that voiced their HUGE displeasure against George Bush's war!

Oh, like wow, man! I am like you know, like really stunned, man! That many people protested against George Bush's War in Iraq? Impeach him, man! Impeach him! Impeach him!

I know I'm being snarky, but can you see how rhetoric completely ignores the actual probabilities of this induction, the almost hilarious lack of support for the conclusion?

To assure you that I have an open mind, if you have any other numbers, please let me know so I can amend the stats and come up with a more accurate result. Please include Iraq too. They should have the greatest say in all of this! You may include numbers from the entire weekend, and other protest themes: Katrina, the economy, lack of affordable health care, lack of jobs, lack of clean needles, lack of condoms, lack of education dollars, gay and lesbian rights violations, lack of beastiality rights, etc. (I know I'm pushing buttons, here, but I can't help it, I want to get these numbers as high as we can.)

15 Comments:

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

well, remember that protestors mark the spot for roughly 7 people that agree with them. But, all that being said, I think the bigger question is what do the polls say the American people are thinking? Granted, polls can be slanted, but...

 
At 4:35 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Good point!

The polls are a much more accurate measure of attitudes, but they also reflect attitudes shaped by what? Are they an accurate depiction of Bush's performance? What facts and evidence do they have that gives them the proper perspective to judge performance? That is what is arguable.

I am directly focusing on the use of language in this story. If they want to use polls, fine. But they are making more out of what didn't occur than what did in the first story, and exaggerating what did to obfuscate what really happened.

 
At 7:25 AM, Blogger mal said...

Despite what I may think of our reasons for being in Iraq and Juniors handling of it, the medias attempt to make it 1968 all over again is falling flat. I watched a news team filming a local "protest" and it was interesting the way the 20 or so individuals were staging for visual impact with the cameras. No cameras, no marching, imagine

I have very little respect for the electronic media

 
At 7:34 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Mallory:

Thanks for dropping by!

I agree with you. I feel like I'm being toyed with whenever I watch MSM news. I watched the Laura Ingraham clip on the "Today" show who was interviewed with David Greggory and had that feeling like they were trying to trash Laura. I think she did well. I would love to see Tim Russert over in Bagdhdad. I think he'd do a great job, and hats off to those reporters who actually get out into the mean streets.

 
At 6:17 PM, Anonymous Kathleen said...

Mallory is right on spot. This is not 1968. And, this is not anything like Vietnam. Thankfully.

Saur has a good question. What about the polls?

I was glad to see Bush stand up to Helen Thomas at the White House press conference. He managed to lay her flat politely in my opinion. I really couldn't believe the question was asked. Of course it was more of a statement. I had to laugh at her spunk when she was making every effort to keep him from answering.

 
At 9:39 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

I think polls, depending on how the questions are formed can be quite accurate. If there are slanting questions, like "Given the amount of IED's that have killed our soldiers in the last six months, would you say you are more in favor of the Iraq War, the same, or less in favor?

On the other hand, if polls are conducted rightly, they can measure opinion accurately. It can lead an organization to hypothesize how the news has been affecting opinion.

Here lies the rub. If Bush is doing the right thing, but the American people either don't see it or misconstrue it, or ignore it, he'll still have bad poll numbers. Unfortunately, political power is about getting people to support you, bottom line.

 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger andi said...

Hi, UL. Surfed over here from G of I. Hope you don't mind if I lurk around a bit for some education. I could always use it.

 
At 8:48 AM, Blogger andi said...

Oh, and as far as the coverage of the protests go, it's pathetic. I can't figure out the MSM anymore. Liberals say the MSM is slanted to the right; conservatives say it's slanted to the left. I see both points and it frankly makes my head hurt.

Please don't slam me, y'all, I'm here to learn.

 
At 5:07 PM, Blogger Sadie Lou said...

from CNN
Police in London, England, said turnout Saturday was 750,000, the largest demonstration ever in the British capital. The organizers put the figure at 2 million. In Germany, 500,000 protested, and 300,000 gathered in 60 towns and cities across France.

There are some numbers!

 
At 5:52 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

andi:

Feel free to wander anywhere in my cave! Thanks for dropping by.

 
At 8:13 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Great Sadie! Now we're getting some numbers! Come on the rest of you!

Okay, my latest tally is 1,578,291 protested. That's .0193% of the world's population, as opposed to .0003453%. Huge improvement! Now many of the world protestors were american? 8,401 until the Portland, San Fransisco, and Boston numbers come in. So the percent of American protesters is .532%. That would mean there is about 1 American protestor for every 200 global protestors.

Why such a disparity? Unless we have inaccurate numbers, which I suspect, the degree of protest from Americans in general is extremely low. The other observation that seems odd is that Americans have carried the brunt of casualties; England has some, but nowhere near the U.S. numbers, France and Germany have none. I wonder what's going on here. Is it an anti-American thing? Is Engalnd, France and Germany somehow hurt by the Iraq War? I know what it is...THEY'RE EUROPEANS! THEY ARE MORE ENLIGHTENED THAN US BARBARIAN WARMONGERS!

I knew I could come up with an adequate interpretation.

 
At 11:48 PM, Blogger JasonSpalding said...

Iraq --- Cold War II --- Back with a vengeance!

The war in Iraq is a critical blunder by State Department of the United States. The U.S.S.R. was before its break up was allied with Iran in its war against Iraq. Iraq at the time had the support of the State Department of the United States. You remember the Axiom the enemy of my enemy is my friend. So when the U.S.S.R. dissolved some in the state department that we no longer had to keep supporting Iraq. So Saddam stopped getting the due he was felt so he tried to conquer Kuwait. This pissed off to many in the world so the U.S.A. and the rest of the world stepped in and sent his soldiers packing back to Iraq. Now when Iraq became has become further destabilized the U.S. had to go in and insure the safety of our worlds needed oil supply. Flash forward till now and what is happening Iran wants to control its nuclear destiny and who is supporting them Russia a former member of the U.S.S.R. club. So the real question is Russia attempting a come back?

 
At 12:19 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

I don't know. I have a real concern about China. I think we need to keep an eye on Russia. Frankly, the world has remained as dangerous as during the Cold War, only the chances for a rogue nation or terrorist organization getting a nuke is nerve racking.

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

UL said: "only the chances for a rogue nation or terrorist organization getting a nuke is nerve racking."

UL,

I hate to beak this to you, but the crazy dictator of the rogue nation, North Korea, has nuclear weapons. Lot of them.

And Bush didn't invade them to keep us safe.

No oil there...

 
At 8:28 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Shaw,

Well DUH!

 

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