Because I love research I decided to audit their report. I started with The Huffington Post and found out the owner, Arianna Huffington, is a big-time supporter of the Democratic Party. I don’t think democrats love Fox News. I then found out they got their research from Farleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. After digging in to the research conducted by the university I found they only surveyed 600 people all of which live in New Jersey!
I would like for you to really think about this because I would love for you to be as livid as I am. I’ve worked with about every major grocery manufacturer there is (i.e. Clorox, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson, etc.) and I promise you none of them would have conducted research this way because they would’ve lost credibility. They make sure they have an extremely large sample size (600 would be laughed at) and they’d make sure they had a cross section of demographics.
How in the world could national news agencies take a report based on 600 people who live in New Jersey and treat it like its national news? Not only was it just 600 people but the research company wouldn’t provide information on how many out of the 600 were Fox News viewers. This is very important because what if only 150 out of the 600 people surveyed watched Fox. Plus, the demographics are different in New Jersey than the demographics of those living in the southeast. Fox News has a large viewer base in the southeast so these viewers would be more inclined to watch Fox for longer periods of time.
So let’s think about this; news organizations like ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, etc., ran with the story. They were sharing the report and treating it as the truth when only 600 people out of the 300 million people in the U.S. were surveyed. I realize we don’t have 300 million people watching the news but I believe you get the point. I was outraged! How can we trust news organizations? They ran the story because they very much benefited in saying Fox News isn’t as good of a news agency as they are. The sad part is Fox News was harmed and there’s no way they can let everyone know how news viewers were misled by the other networks.
Let me give you another example. I was watching the evening news with Diane Sawyer and they have an awesome segment called Made in America. They mentioned in their broadcast that Christmas sales were projected to be around $465 billion dollars. They then went on to say that an average individual spends $704 on Christmas purchases (this sounded too high to me). And lastly they said Americans only spend around 45% on American made products and if all of us would spend an extra $74 dollars on American products we’d create 200,000 jobs.
Their numbers looked strange to me so I grabbed my laptop and checked them out. The first thing I did was divide the $465 billion by the average purchase amount with is $704. If you do this you’ll come up with 660 million people. I’m sure it’s sinking in now their numbers can’t be correct because our population is a little over 300 million. So right off the bat I saw a major flaw. And the thing is, if this number is so far off it also affects their projections of job growth because the $74 won’t be made by 660 million people.
I sent an email to ABC not expecting to hear anything but much to my surprise from the evening news called and went over my calculations. He was embarrassed and said they got the research from the National Retail Federation. He apologized that they didn’t conduct due diligence before airing the numbers. What’s great is on the following night when they ran the Made in America segment they revised some figures and stopped showing others all together. I give them credit for this.
There are more problems than the two examples I shared above. Do you really believe the media knows how many people live in the U.S. or for that matter the world? Do you think they know how many of our citizens are African American, Asian, Caucasian, and Hispanic? I even heard the news share how many people will be travelling during Thanksgiving and how many of them would be driving and flying. I don’t know about you but I don’t believe they know this. What I’m trying to get across is that everyone should be very careful when watching the news because practically everything they report (statistics wise) isn’t accurate.
I’m getting ready to share something with you that’s extremely important. News organizations like Fox News and MSNBC intentionally inflame their viewers. Their primary reason for doing this is because they know if they don’t invoke strong emotions from their viewers they’ll lose them.
I love marketing analytics so I know data can be spun in at least two different directions. A recent example is the White House when they touted a decline in unemployment based on a percentage. In this case I believe it was 8.7% down to 8.6%. What they neglected to share is this doesn’t mean people got jobs it just means that unemployment applications dropped. In this case over 300,000 fell out of the system without getting a job. By the way I don’t think the Obama administration did anything that other administrations have done before.
With data spin in mind, Fox News can very easily spin data and make it fit their demographics while MSNBC (with different demographics) can do the same thing to their viewers. The problem is that people think what they hear is correct and it leads to major division between viewers of both networks. How many times have you heard people in a heated argument about politics because of the propaganda given to them from the network they watch? My brother has a good rule of thumb; he watches a few different networks and then figures the relative truth might be somewhere in the middle.
We’re all being duped. If the networks can get us fighting between ourselves they’ve accomplished their mission. I kind of wonder if people from both networks are actually friends each knowing that by pitching their viewers against one another, they’ll have job security. I could be way off base but sometimes I wonder.
I’ll cover one more topic before I move on to the next section. Please be very cautious of accepting the opinions of news consultants/experts. News agencies can find anyone they want to support their opinion or to invoke emotions from their viewers. There isn’t a topic in the world where all experts agree. Some scientist say there’s global warming while some don’t. Some economists say our economy is improving while other economists don’t. Some teachers say we need to radically change the way we educate our children while some teachers don’t. I hate to burst your news watching bubble but it’s my opinion that we should treat these news consultants/experts with extreme caution because there might be thousands of other experts who disagree with him or her.
My hope is that everyone who reads this will agree with me there is no reason for us to argue about news items because we’re not arguing over the truth; we’re arguing over the news network’s version of the truth. This is one of the reasons I don’t watch as much news as I used to (or listen to radio shows), because they got me all fired up over nothing. Life can be tough enough without the media bringing us down.
Keep in mind that I researched all of the things I’m getting ready to share so the fact is my information is only as good as my sources. I did my best to use multiple sources and if I saw a common theme I ran with it. In the end though I had to use my common sense and critical thinking to determine what is most accurate. This is my attempt to reiterate the insights I share are from my experiences. The best thing you can do if something doesn’t sound right to you is to do your own investigation of the material I share. I thoroughly believe in what I wrote, I hope you do too.