Hello again, team. Sorry I've taken so long to get back to you, but I've been busy writing a for-hire novel, which I've got to get finished by the end of September -- not to mention having my computer in the shop for a week, and getting ready for DragonCon. I'd originally planned to report my adventures in the brave new world of Vaping, e-cigarettes, and hunting for designers thereof, but this came up instead. So, onward.
An old friend who lives in Wisconsin phoned and told me about the state's local hyper-Liberal Arts and Entertainment newspaper (I trust you're all familiar with the breed), which had published an article about Arizona's famous SB 1070 law. Along with the usual patronizing mooing about Little Brown People, the article made this amazing statement: "(the law) is an attempt by the white two-thirds majority to impose its will on the Latino one-third minority". The article then goes on to piously note that this is why we need a good Liberal government: to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority, and to curb the majority's excesses. Uhuh.
Now, besides the blatant anti-democratic elitism, note the stunning error of fact: "white two-thirds majority".
According to the last census, the population of Arizona is roughly 30% White (yes, a minority), 30% Indian (primarily Navaho tribes), 30% mixed White-and-Indian (which is exactly what Latinos are), 5% Black and 5% Asian. Census figures are not a state secret; you can find them easily on the Internet. These self-righteous insular Liberals simply didn't bother to look.
This certainly isn't the first incidence of the Mainstream Media displaying their righteous passions without bothering to do their homework. The more respectable magazines and newspapers, when caught in their resulting errors, will usually apologize and make corrections in a corner of the editorial page; the broadcast news programs rarely admit to their errors at all. When both the US Army and the Red Cross investigated the Abu Ghraib "torture" scandal, they discovered that those infamous photos were faked; they'd never been taken in Abu Ghraib prison at all, and photographic analysis showed that the pictures were a hoax. Yet this information hardly reached the media at all; far more attention was paid to the Army firing the commander of the prison. There was virtually no reporting of the correction, and certainly no apology.
Now why is this? Given the abundance of information available simply on the Internet, it isn't that hard to check a story out. Surely in an age of runaway lawsuits you'd think the media would be more careful about possible suits for libel. Perhaps the armies of lawyers they keep on the payroll have made them overconfident. Perhaps they keep enormous slush-funds for settling out of court. Or perhaps they have such contempt for the intelligence of their audiences that they assume the public will believe them blindly, and they'll never get caught -- at least not badly -- in their little mistakes. So is it laziness, overconfidence or just plain arrogance that makes the media so thoughtless with the facts?
In any case, they're mistaken about the gullibility of the public. Despite the media's ferocious decrying of Arizona's anti-illegal-immigration bill, a recent survey by the major polling companies showed that fully 70% of Arizona's population, and 68% of the rest of the country, are in favor of SB 1070 -- and half a dozen states are drafting similar laws of their own. Another poll showed that, of the three groups that Americans trust the least, politicians come in first, lawyers are second, and the media are third. Newspapers and magazines have wailed about dropping readership, and yet more polls show that a rapidly-growing percentage of the population get their news primarily from the Internet.
Does anybody, except the media pundits themselves, wonder why?