Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Red Cliffs Of Dawlish
Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Monday, 12 October 2015

Fatal Car Crash: Two Dead After Car Accident

A staple of news-media reporting

I remember reading some convincing advice when reading around some scientific studies on "Happiness". It might have been from Martin Seligman writing about Positive Psychology, but I can't exactly remember, now. A couple of useful headlines included, ensure you have a "good commute" to work as it disproportionately (probably cumulatively stacks) effects your "happiness ratings" (iirc: Using a bleeper, and self-recording surveys). Another one was: "Watch less News on TV" or indeed in the News-Media altogether.

 "There's no news, like bad news." ~ Jonathan Pryce, Tomorrow Never Dies

In fact the News generally follows the "Tension-Relief" model: "Heavy-Beating music intro." and grave reporting (stern faces, low tone of voice) on the serious consequences of the day, then ending with the "uplifting sports news" (smiles and higher pitch of voice) and ending with the "chancey weather forecasts".

In printed newspapers the structure requires a car-crash story then some padding between the next "shocking story" so the effect of overloading x2 "shocking stories" together does not neutralize/dull the impact.

"Some viewers may find the following pictures distressing."
A friend of mine made the good point that "The News" might afterall simply be called "Bad News." That all said, there's no question roads are one of the most dangerous situations in everyday life and educating on strict road safety is a good thing. Looking at the statistics from The Department For Transport: Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: Main Results :-
"There were 1,775 reported road deaths in 2014, an increase of 4% compared with 2013. The 1,775 road deaths in 2014 is the third lowest annual total on record after 2012 and 2013. There were 45 per cent fewer fatalities in 2014 than a decade earlier in 2005."
 Reporting Bias: Does positive, abstract news sell?
  • There was a total of 194,477 casualties of all severities in reported road traffic accidents during 2014, the first increase in overall casualties since 1997.
  • A total of 146,322 personal-injury road traffic accidents were reported to the police in 2014. Of these accidents, 1,658 resulted in at least one fatality.

Looked at statistically, there's actually "positive news". Of interest was "pedestrian" input into increases between 2013-14: Perhaps news channels would do well to link these findings with the incidental accidents as they occur and are reported in the news? Risk of death and transportation:-
The lifetime risk of dying in a transport accident is remarkably high - with most of the risk coming from road traffic accidents. While the risk of dying in a road accident in any year in the UK approaches 1 in 20,000, the lifetime risk is 1 in 240. In the Ukraine it is 1 in 80. 
By population as opposed to number of miles/km travelled. The point being made here is that these numbers can be used as information in these "car crash stories" as vehicles (pardon the pun) to bullet-point safe-driving reminders to road-users and indeed to pedestrians too. Then it turns the story from a negative tragedy story to a potentially positive reflection on a tragedy story.

Avoid News Towards a Healthy News Diet By Rolf Dobelli
News misleads. Take the following event (borrowed from Nassim Taleb). A car drives over a bridge, and the bridge collapses. What does the news media focus on? The car. The person in the car. Where he came from. Where he planned to go. How he experienced the crash (if he survived). But that is all irrelevant. What's relevant? The structural stability of the bridge. That's the underlying risk that has been lurking, and could lurk in other bridges. But the car is flashy, it's dramatic, it's a person (non-abstract), and it's news that's cheap to produce. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is overrated. Fiscal irresponsibility is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated.
  • No.1: News misleads us systematically.
  • No.2: News is irrelevant.
  • No.3: News limits understanding
  • No.4: News is toxic to your body.
  • No.5: News massively increases cognitive errors.
  • No.6: News inhibits thinking.
  • No.7: News changes the structure of your brain.
  • No.8: News is costly.
  • No.9: News sunders the relationship between reputation and achievement.
  • No.10: News is produced by journalists.
  • No.11: Reported facts are sometimes wrong, forecasts always.
  • No.12: News is manipulative.
This point concerning Fear was made in Christopher Booker and Richard North's book: Scared To Death:-
"While a number of these scares have been food-related, an equal number are not. However, Booker and North suggest that for a problem to be inflated to generalised scare level it usually satisfies a number of conditions. Primary amongst them is that the perceived threat must be to everyone - a condition that only afflicts specific groups does not becomes a scare in the same way. The media become interested if the threat is to all..."
Confirmation Bias: Most people's unreported journeys - "Pass Go: Collect £200!"

We're reminded, again, of the importance of building "the right map in our heads" as per The Greatest Political Problem of Our Time or else we'll continue along The Road To The European Union and unfortunately like the EUROZONE members fall into a kind of "ant mill" as per Argumentum Ad Infinitum .

The irony of debates on EU / Single Market implications to "British Car Manufacturing"
Lucy Thomas, Deputy Director of Britain Stronger in Europe, was asked what the problem is with leaving the EU and she responded: "Because we don't know what out would look like."

But the row started when Ms Thomas insisted that car manufacturer such as Nissan and Toyota would reconsider their investment in the UK if we left the European Union.
We've covered this previously, it's an example of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) . It's a powerful tool of the Status Quo Effect which Dr. RAE North writes about in FLEXCIT: The Definitive EU Exit Plan For Britain: Chapter - 3.8 Protecting The Single Market, p.49-50:-

Primarily, the counter-attack highlighting the adverse consequences of withdrawal has been based on economic arguments, but with a strong reliance on fear, uncertainty and doubt (known  as FUD).

Typical of  the genre was an article in the Observer newspaper in late 2012. Leaving the EU, it said:

... will be a disaster at every level. Britain's mass car industry will head to low-cost countries that have remained in the EU. Much other manufacturing will follow; Airbus production will migrate to Germany and France ... The financial services industry will be regulated on terms set in Brussels and be powerless to resist. British farmers, who have prospered under the Common Agricultural  Policy,  will find they become dependent on whatever mean-spirited British system of farm support that replaces it. Farms will survive by industrial farming, devastating the beloved English countryside.

This FUD has been a characteristic of pro-EU campaigns for some decades. The fear exploits the status quo effect which is a significant phenomenon in all referendums, where the innate conservatism of the electorate can weigh heavily against  change,  allowing  the  pro-EU  side  to  enjoy  as  much  as  an  inbuilt  20-point advantage.

 "FUD, FUD... glorious FUD!" ~ Dr. RAE North (Sept. 2014, Dawlish)

Interestingly the above quote is from the News-Media, The Observer, 12 November, 2012. And here is LBC Monday 12th October 2015 in a debate concerning the Car Industry and not correcting the difference between The Single Market and The Political Union. This is another case of the sort of "infinity loop" we mentioned above, and a case of a failure Of Democracy and Time Dilation .

But Richard Tice, a co-founder of Leave.EU, insisted she was both out-of-touch and misinformed.
Unfortunately he falls right into "Lying Lucy" 's trap of arguing as How about a nice game of chess? on "Economic Brexit" grounds/context/frame-of-reference as per Dr. RAE North's Brexit: none of their business as we pointed out in Lakshmi: Goddess of Prosperity (1) "The Dismal Science" is a bottomless-pit of numbers to argue over: EU Referendum: the inexhaustible stupidity of Ukip
As to the booklet as a whole, we find the BBC (edited screen grab – top) offering its debunking slot to "Lying Lucy" – otherwise known as Lucy Thomas, campaign director for the Europhile Business for New Europe.

Fortunately for us, Lucy is not very bright. But even she was able to work out that Ukip's arguments did not add up. Unfortunately, Lucy is not alone. There is every sign that some of the more advanced Europhiles are getting their act together. In what it to be a long campaign, the Ukip case offered today will be comprehensively shredded – it is that full of holes.

Pete North (see blogroll) summarizes these arguments: The ridiculous fearmongering of europhiles.

"This is the kind of scaremongering we will see repeated ad nauseam (Argumentum Ad Infinitum)."

If the news-media are looking for a terrible "car-crash story" to run with tomorrow as their front-page shocker story then the tragic accident that occurred when Lucy Thomas, travelling in her silver EU, well over the speed-limit veered off course and into the oncoming Richard Tice's blue Brexit, in this "Car Crash Interview":-

 "Fatal Car Crash: Two Dead After Car Argument"

 But they'd be reporting more rigorously if they additionally in conjunction:-