Why I Hate Local News

Just watched the news and there was a report of a crash at an intersection — an SUV hit an ambulance. Very bad.

“According to residents,” quoth the reporter on the scene, “this is a dangerous intersection.”

Cut to a local resident, saying that it’s a dangerous intersection and there’s at least one crash a week.

Um… Why are we asking a resident about this? Why are we taking this person’s word for it? Is this person sitting out at the intersection all day, counting crashes and close-calls? How many accidents did she miss? Is there a chance she’s exaggerating? Isn’t there an agency out there that keeps track of such things? Shouldn’t we check with the local traffic cops or the highway administration and get an actual statistic? And then shouldn’t we report on the actual number of crashes, their levels of severity, and how this measures up to other intersections?

In other words: Shouldn’t the news present facts?

The fetish local TV news has for the opinions of the “man in the street” would be merely risible if it weren’t so misleading and factually dishonest.

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