Conventional news organizations on the whole are lacking in data journalism skills, in my view. Some of this is a matter of self-selection. Students who enter college with the intent to major in journalism or communications have above-average test scores in reading and writing, but below-average scores in mathematics. Furthermore, young people with strong math skills will normally have more alternatives to journalism when they embark upon their careers and may enter other fields.4[My emphasis]This is very, very true. You will notice that here at The Ghost we deal with direct quotes (not paraphrase or cut and pasted sentences from different paragraphs to make a point that does not exist), long form pieces and where appropriate, mathematical explanations as to why certain things are or are not the case. I would argue that not only are many people in the "soft science" fields not only lacking in "mathematics" but that they are lacking in the area of logic (related) and knowledge of other forms of hard sciences. For example those persons who claim there are no such thing as human races, even though the evidence is quite clear that there are. These people do not know that there can be a social construct that is "unscientific" while there is a biological construct that is quite scientific. Those persons are lacking in the basics of logical thought and instead try to "intuit" and feel out there arguments. Since many people (most?) are susceptible to emotional arguments they fall for these arguments even when their own eyes tell them that what they think is the case, is not. Similar issues abound with comments about "rape culture" and the like (as it pertains to Western democratic societies). Even though the actual statistics do not bear out their claims, not even by a long shot, these claims are still allowed to be made in mass media because who wants to be the guy saying "it's not that bad" to a person who may have been a victim? How many men have the guts to stand up to a woman that he wants approval of, and many, many do, and say, that is bullshit? There are not many takers. Similarly when we discuss the high levels of black crime. There are those who wish to shift the responsibility onto white folks, guns, poverty, and whatever else other than the fucked up parenting (which of course would also be blamed on white folks), the lack of black folks opening small businesses in their own communities that serve as the first line of employment for young people. Of black flight from black neighborhoods (for good intentions, who wants to deal with crime). When we cannot have discussions about police targeting black males without discussing the very real fact that in many metropolitan areas, homicide is an overwhelmingly black problem. That statistically speaking, if there is a murder in, for example, NYC, the most likely suspect AND victim will be a black male and that white folks have absolutely NOTHING to do with that free choice made by that killer. Of course one of the reasons for this failure to be scientific in regards to such things is the "opinion journalism" that many people take as absolute truth. This failure is also pointed out in the linked article:
My disdain for opinion journalism (such as in the form of op-ed columns) is well established, but my chief problem with it is that it doesn’t seem to abide by the standards of either journalistic or scientific objectivity. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to abide by any standard at all.This is absolutely true. If anything shows the absolute truth of this one simply has to look at the recent coverage of the crisis in Ukraine. I have made numerous "so and so thinks you're an idiot" posts because all of them simply failed the simple fact check. But this is what much reporting has come down to. There is no objectivity there is partisan-ism, advocacy and in many cases snark and name calling fronting as intelligent writing. Because of the above we generally cannot have proper discussions on these topics because generally, the people who are writing and speaking on these things are not good at math. The audience is not good at math and so it's the blind leading the blind leading the deaf. They don't wanna hear it. They don't wanna see it. And if you bring it up you're a sell out to black folks and a woman hater and rape apologist to the women. But the one thing they cannot call you is a liar.