Politicians and News Media in Toxic Hookup: Legislation by Anecdote

We see it again and again, yet we do not learn: The news media, hungry for market share, deliver a toxic dose of fear every day.

Politicians, hungry for votes, use your fear to promulgate ever harsher laws. Few notice that the laws are based on emotional hype, not facts. And prisons bulge with people who do not belong there. This is true not only on the issue of sexual offenses. We’re currently overwhelmed with panic-stricken reporting about ebola, for instance.

You would not know it by watching or reading the news, but here are some facts:

  • Deaths from ebola in the U.S. never ever will match the death toll from cigarettes and alcohol.
  • Research proves that trick-or-treating children are not at higher risk for sexual assault on Halloween.
  • Sexual offenders are among the least likely of any group to commit a second second sexual offense. (Right here in Nebraska, this lie/myth is embedded in state law because of our poisonous media/political process: Nebraska statute says sexual offenders all are dangerous. That’s just not true, but it’s part of our law).

In an era of fear-driven “news” reporting, we are fortunate to have information sources that stick to the facts: Truth-out.org is one of them. Here is an enlightening recent post on the issue of legislation by anecdote.

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