Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Compare and contrast, PBS and Ferguson edition

Recently PBS put together a chart to be helpful to those too busy -- or too dim-witted -- to actually read and process the Ferguson grand jury testimony.

It helpfully explained that Michael Brown was, of course, murdered in cold blood while surrendering. Of course. Look at the chart - it's right there in the column entitled "Did MB put his hands up when fired upon?". Facts, bro.

Just glance quickly at a table of unknown veracity, and you are an instant expert on a case that took months and involved 60 witnesses!

Oddly enough, other summaries of the testimony that I read indicated that a certain segment of the witness testimony -- those who testified that "MB" was surrendering -- were deemed untrustworthy, since the forensic and autopsy evidence fully contradicted their version of events. The witnesses that corroborated Officer Wilson's story, however, told versions that matched the forensic and autopsy evidence.

Which seems pretty important, eh?

Later I encountered another chart that seems to pretty much pull the plug on the PBS chart:

Now I have not read the testimony yet either, so caveat emptor on this. Those who want to really know what they're talking about are pretty much required to read a lot about it. Relying on tables compiled by the media, or by others you might not necessarily be able to trust, is a bad idea.

Detail does complicate our lives, but it also informs us. It keeps us from turning into drooling morons who know nothing of any value except what others tell us to think. If you're too busy to read the testimony, but you have time to spend texting and trolling Facebook, you might want to quit pretending that your opinions on this matter are worth a bucket of warm spit.

Anyway, compare and contrast the tables yourself, but remember that people who filter out and condense details into neatly-compartmentalized story lines are making a lot of decisions on what is important to the story on your behalf. They might not be all that careful, or objective, and to the extent they remove or obscure key details, you, the consumer of that information, pay the price.

The media has spent decades trying to dumb down America - don't help them.

via Second City Cop