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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

News media linking isolated incidents, as usual

This morning while enjoying my coffee on a slow-starting day, I was watching CNN Headline News and one of the lead stories was this one about "another financial figure accused of sexual assault."

According to the article: "The alleged incident took place on May 29 -- two weeks and a day after Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, was accused of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape a housekeeping employee at another swank New York hotel. Strauss-Kahn's attorneys deny the allegations, and he has since stepped down from the IMF to focus on his defense."

So, it happened two weeks and a day after another similar assault. Does this mean the two are somehow connected? Of course not.

Yet, the news media connects them anyway. It's called linkage, and it is a tool used to create a hook to grab viewer attention, and it tends to unnecessarily promote fear in viewers. So how many of us are now afraid of wealthy men in their 70s who are staying in expensive hotels?

Frankly, we should be, for these are the most dangerous people in the world (these are the ones who commit the corporate crimes that kill and injure more people every year than all street crimes combined). But that story is not being told in the media.

Instead, we get two unrelated stories linked together with questions like this one: "Is there some reason why we have two stories, two weeks apart, of older men allegedly committing sexual assaults against hotel maids? Is this an epidemic?"


By the way, the next story on the same network was this one about the more than 800 people stung by jellyfish in Florida.

"Sort of like those old men at expensive hotels with their tentacles all over innocent women just trying to make a living as maids."

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