Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How to Shape a Bogus But True Story

I try hard not to bash German news episodes because they are generally even-handed.  Last night, the late news on state-run ARD ran a piece on the climate business.  The first-half of 2015, has been the warmest period on record for Germany (over the 200-odd years that temperatures have been kept).  They then coupled this with temperatures around the world, with again went with a few facts which are accurate.  Finally, they coupled this with 4,500-odd people who died in June in Pakistan and India from heat-related issues and this is all connected back to global warming.

I sat for a moment and looked at the last piece of their factual story, and kinda grinned.  It's not exactly true, and I suspect they knew that but just pushed it hard to fit into their storyline.

You see.....it is true a massive heat wave came through Pakistan and India for June.  Generally every single June, heat is an issue in Pakistan, and it's been that way not just for years or decades or centuries.....but even longer.

But in this case.....there's this odd thing where Ramadan (the Islam holy month) fell in June (at least twelve-odd days).  What happens when you take a guy into a 40C situation, and insist that he survive with no water for 15-odd hours during the day?  Well.....the guy will collapse with a heat stroke, and possibly die.  The bulk of these 4,500 people they are talking about....are Ramadan participants.  They put themselves into a dangerous situation, and they paid with their life.

Connected to global warming?  Well.....no.

All of these people....had they sipped water and hydrated themselves.....would have survived.  To say it's connected to global warming.....is bogus.  Ramadan participants must adhere to the rule established over 1,300 years ago.....even if it means they must die in the process.

That's the thing about the news.....you start with one fact while people won't argue much about, and you couple it with another fact.  Maybe three or four facts get coupled up.....then you take the bogus slant item, and tie it into the overall story.  A typical German will assume everything is correct and he'd never get a bogus story put together.

How many people saw the episode?  Probably over three million, and the bulk (probably over ninety-five percent) will believe the item entirely without asking any questions.

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