Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Study Shows Heart Disease, Cancer Deaths Dwarf Violent Crime While Media Focus Near Opposite

Study Shows Heart Disease, Cancer Deaths Dwarf Violent Crime While Media Focus Near Opposite, Metamora Herald
Credit: Hannah Ritchie @ ourworldindata.org

from the article:


The coverage in both newspapers here is strikingly similar. And the discrepancy between what we die actually from and what we get informed of in the media is what stands out:

-around one-third of the considered causes of deaths resulted from heart disease, yet this cause of death receives only 2-3 percent of Google searches and media coverage;
-just under one-third of the deaths came from cancer; we actually google cancer a lot (37 percent of searches) and it is a popular entry here on our site; but it receives only 13-14 percent of media coverage;
-we searched for road incidents more frequently than their share of deaths, however, they receive much less attention in the news;
-when it comes to deaths from strokes, Google searches and media coverage are surprisingly balanced;
-the largest discrepancies concern violent forms of death: suicide, homicide and terrorism. All three receive much more relative attention in Google searches and media coverage than their relative share of deaths. When it comes to the media coverage on causes of death, violent deaths account for more than two-thirds of coverage in the New York Times and The Guardian but account for less than 3 percent of the total deaths in the US.
 
The responsibility in breaking this cycle lies with both media producers and consumers. Will we ever stop reporting and reading the latest news? Unlikely. But we can all be more conscious of how we let this news shape our understanding of the world.

And journalists can do much better in providing context of the broader trends: if reporting on a homicide, for example, include context of how homicide rates are changing over time.6 As media consumers we can be much more aware of the fact that relying on the 24/7 news coverage alone is wholly insufficient for understanding the state of the world. This requires us to check our (often unconscious) bias for single narratives and seek out sources that provide a fact-based perspective on the world.

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