The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

"39 Percent" is Fake News

The most dangerous fake news doesn't come from obscure websites or random tweets by persons or groups unknown. Most people recognize that those sources are suspect. It comes from supposedly respected news organizations that claim to accurately and objectively report the news. The simple reality is that these so-called respected news sites exhibit some of the most egregious examples of the meta characteristics of fake news I discussed in a post a while back. One of the many meta-characteristics that I noted occurs when a news organization is guilty of:
Omitting important facts when they conflict with a progressive narrative.
With this in mind, consider a supposedly respected media source—The New York Times—that recently published the following headline: “Amid ‘Trump Effect’ Fear, 40% of Colleges See Dip in Foreign Applicants.” From the headline, one could rightly conclude that there were 40 percent fewer foreign students enrolled at U.S colleges and universities and that the reason—Trump. Wow!

The Wall Street Journal reports on one intrepid reader who decided to take a look at this claim:
Mr. [Tyler] Cowen [an economics professor at George Mason University who earned his Ph.D. from Harvard] decided to examine the survey for himself and discovered the following results published on the very first page of the report, listed first among its “key findings”: “39% of responding institutions reported a decline in international applications, 35% reported an increase, and 26% reported no change in applicant numbers.”
So ... the vast majority —61 percent to be exact—of all institutions reported an increase in foreign student enrollment or no change at all. But that didn't fit the bias or the narrative of the NYT reporter. After all, she projected her own (progressive) unhinged fear of Trump to all foreign students, and that MUST have caused an overall drop in enrollments, let the real numbers be damned. By the way, her conclusion that Trump had anything to do with any drop in enrollment is unsupported by any data or facts.

As an aside, did it occur to the genius reporter at the NYT that since 39% of colleges saw a decrease in enrollment and 35 percent saw an increase, one could conclude (lacking absolute numbers which the NYT didn't provide) that there was a net 4 percent decrease in enrollment. That is not earth-shattering news.

But certainly a paper as trustworthy as the NYT must have noted the percent increase of 35 percent experienced by other colleges and the fact that 26 percent remained the same? Nope. In 20 paragraphs of this news story, there was not one mention. Not one. After all, that would have at least provided some context.

By the way, there's another meta characteristic I mention in my post:
Presenting a news event or public policy without appropriate context when that context might negatively impact the progressive narrative.
Just another of many examples of fake news from a supposedly respected news source, The New York Times. The next time you hear a sanctimonious spokesperson for the NYT or any other left-leaning media source lament the damaging affects of fake news, you have my permission to laugh in their face.