Posts Tagged ‘CNN’

CNN’s anti-Christian Bias?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Codex SinaiticusJust read an article on CNN (“Oldest known Bible goes online“) about the online unveiling of the Codex Sinaiticus. This particular article is misleading as to the particulars of the difference between the ancient codex and modern Bibles, and demonstrates a complete lack of understanding on the subject (or significant anti-Christian bias) by its author.

To have apocryphal books present in an ancient codex is not unusual, nor unexpected; most of the books mentioned indeed are still present in Bibles that you can buy from the bookstore. They aren’t missing, they aren’t seditionary — but it seems the article is trumped up to make excitement that everything you thought you knew about the Bible isn’t true!

The discussion about changes and corrections in the codex does not include any thought as to whether the changes were corrections towards the accepted text or deviations from it; the part about missing passages doesn’t bother to mention whether the omissions are due to missing pages or damage or were never written.

There is also no discussion of the possible theological bent of the monastery where this was copied, which could have led the scribes to change it for their purposes (see the Jefferson Bible, for instance).

I don’t expect a news reporter to spout the standard Christian doctrine, but I do expect a discussion that respects and represents the nuance of the subject in question. And the fact that they would never write an article like this about the Koran reinforces the possibility that this is, plain and simple, anti-Christian bias.

Bad journalism, bad scholarship, and patently offensive besides. CNN, you’ve done it again!

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

It continues to amaze me how loosely most people deal with statistics, making up or inflating numbers to prove a point or make something seem more significant than it really is.

Exhibit A is an article on CNN today, about a really sad case where a boy shot himself with a gun that his parents had stored in a closet. Why it wasn’t locked up, and why it was loaded, I can’t say. But here’s the statistic in the article:

The CDC says three children per day, on average, died in accidental incidents in the United States from 2000 to 2005, the last year data are available.

The CDC has some really great data resources available, so I went to WISQARS and ran the report. Here’s what I selected, based on how the CNN article described the set:

  • Intent: Unintentional (that is, accidental) deaths
  • Mode: Firearm
  • Years: 2000 to 2005
  • Ages: Custom range from <1 to 17 (this should be what “children” means, yes?)
  • No age adjusting

The result returned was a total of 724 deaths for the six year period. Too many, yes, but three children per day? Hardly. More like one child every three days. The CNN number is inflated 9 times higher than the actual. That’s past lies and damned lies, that’s statistcal malpractice. (I sent a comment to CNN to see if they’ll correct it, but I don’t have high hopes.)

Long live Mark Twain

P.S. Here’s a great article from The Week entitled “When numbers deceive.” It looks at cancer rates and survivability and quizzes of doctors, and it’s some surprising stuff.

P.P.S. They actually corrected it, but the wording is horrendous:

The CDC says one child, on average, every three days died in accidental incidents in the United States from 2000 to 2005, the last year data are available.

And it turns out that I wasn’t the only one to catch it and write about it. The “Stormin Mormon” used this case to ponder again the limits of journalistic stupidity.

The Questions are Rigged

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Whether conservative or liberal, it seems that most people in this world, including journalists, writers, and “researchers,” have a hard time constructing objective questions and answers.

Not so long ago there was the story of the John Ziegler, who started a website and is putting together a “documentary” called “How Obama Got Elected.”  The interviews are certainly fascinating material, but I’m not really sure how much the questions, and the offered choices for an answer, actually reveal.  Did people who know certain things about Obama vote based on that knowledge, or do they know the info because of their pre-existing choice of candidate or news source?  Is it causal or just collateral coincedence?

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