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Article: Why are Americans so wrong about crime?


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I mean the answer is fucking obvious, they listen to talk radio or opinion content all day talking about cities as if they're all Mogadishu in the 1990s, just look at Fox News' primetime looney line up and how they handled the protests.

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This is all Fox News talks about right now.

 

If you believed the narrative they were pushing, you would think we all lived in some sort of Escape From New York style urban hellscape.

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I think there's certainly some blame to be placed on conservative tv/radio, but it's not as if other media is playing the counter narrative. All media is stuck with the same problem that stories about crimes are both newsworthy (to some extent) and they generate far more interest (views, clicks, etc.) than the alternative. So while Fox may be an outlier with a huge viewership, even someone listening to NPR and the Times might wrongly expect that crime is rising.

 

Then you have another problem where the institutions that might benefit most from a falling crime rate, are perversely incentivized not to highlight that too much. Police want to appear competent, but more than that they need themselves, and their funding, to appear more necessary than ever. For every politician that might highlight a falling crime rate, you have an opponent who might move the spotlight to any possible counter example. Even in the age of "defund the police," I bet few politicians risk their election chances on the idea that we're sufficiently safe.

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Humans aren't good at risk assessment, so seeing scary things has an out sized impact on perception compared to the actual facts. It is really that simple.

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2 hours ago, sblfilms said:

Humans aren't good at risk assessment, so seeing scary things has an out sized impact on perception compared to the actual facts. It is really that simple.

 

Yeah, this. I'm pretty sure the average person, American or not, is simply usually wrong, and probably stupid. Remember, technically speaking, 50% of the world's population is theoretically below average intelligence. And when you think the average is a low bar, there's really only one conclusion to reach about most of humanity. 

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Social media.  The whole business model of the social media giants is based off generating the 'most clicks'; negative stimuli are overwhelmingly better at inspiring this quick, short-term response than positive stimuli.  Thus the algorithms that determine what people see news-wise on social media--which, again, are algorithms designed to generate the most clicks--ensure that it is all A.) negative, and B.) negative in a way customized to your political/social sensibilities.

 

On any one individual, this may or may not have a cognitive impact; but due to the law of statistics and large numbers, when applied to an entire society (or global population), this scheme  will inevitably change the population's overall cognitive perception of the world to be more paranoid, negative, etc.

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4 hours ago, Signifyin(g)Monkey said:

Social media.  The whole business model of the social media giants is based off generating the 'most clicks'; negative stimuli are overwhelmingly better at inspiring this quick, short-term response than positive stimuli.  Thus the algorithms that determine what people see news-wise on social media--which, again, are algorithms designed to generate the most clicks--ensure that it is all A.) negative, and B.) negative in a way customized to your political/social sensibilities.

 

On any one individual, this may or may not have a cognitive impact; but due to the law of statistics and large numbers, when applied to an entire society (or global population), this scheme  will inevitably change the population's overall cognitive perception of the world to be more paranoid, negative, etc.

Social media is a symptom, not the cause.  Because this trend of seeing how bad crime is getting started in the early 00s before social media was really a thing.

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17 minutes ago, marioandsonic said:

Social media is a symptom, not the cause.  Because this trend of seeing how bad crime is getting started in the early 00s before social media was really a thing.

 

Cable news, Rush Limbaugh, etc were already driving the "BE TERRIFIED!" trend back then.

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The local news used to be a literal horror show back in the day. Like youd be shitting your pants while it was on.

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Yeah, I was gonna say, I think local news is at least as big a role as overtly conservative media, and maybe bigger. My parents vote Democrat and absolutely will not watch Fox News, but will watch the local news regularly, and I absolutely cannot convince them that there are way fewer shootings in Chicago now then there were 20 or 30 years ago. I'll show them the stats and then they'll pivot to something like, "Well.... I don't remember shootings like THIS," where "THIS" is whatever the worst or most brazen shooting that had been in the news a couple of days beforehand.

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29 minutes ago, Joe said:

The local news used to be a literal horror show back in the day. Like youd be shitting your pants while it was on.

“If it bleeds it leads”

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45 minutes ago, Ricofoley said:

Yeah, I was gonna say, I think local news is at least as big a role as overtly conservative media, and maybe bigger. My parents vote Democrat and absolutely will not watch Fox News, but will watch the local news regularly, and I absolutely cannot convince them that there are way fewer shootings in Chicago now then there were 20 or 30 years ago. I'll show them the stats and then they'll pivot to something like, "Well.... I don't remember shootings like THIS," where "THIS" is whatever the worst or most brazen shooting that had been in the news a couple of days beforehand.

 

I've lost count of the times I've asked people if they remember when the shootings were so frequent that they didn't have time to focus on any one of them.

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