Truth vs Opinion In Media - Mike Igoe & Kevin Hardwick


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

We're talking this morning about a new pew survey that found out that only a quarter of US adults could fully identify. Factual statements as opposed to opinion. In news stories it's the subject of our roundtable discussion this morning. Let's welcome and Mike I go he's a professor of communications at SUNY for don't you Kevin Hardwick. It's also a professor commission is college and in Erie county legislator you might hear him. Here on Sundays every now and then hardline. I'm WB yen he joins us this morning in studio thank you both for coming in and joining us this morning. Morning why don't we start with you Mike you hear it just that statements via overall findings of this if you study he surprised. Not at all you know what I started as a consumer reporter in 1980 leaves no expression it sounds too good to be true it probably is. And that's still true but the big difference now is stuff gets re posted re tweeted so much it almost becomes credible unto itself. And that's the problem I think it's like to have those dog syndrome if you hearing get a pound into enough it probably seems like it's credible probably seems like it's real and that's the real problem. Kevin what about you. Well I think it's that I think is a huge problem and I am I surprised like I guess a little bit actually. You know they had five factual statements by the opinion statements and 26% of their respondents and there were about 5000 people they talked and point 6% of them were able to turn to nail the fact statement to say that's that's a factual statement. Whether it was writer whether it was wrong to me one of them was right off the bat Barack Obama was born in the United States which a lot of people there's it's a knee jerk react for live people. Including. Formerly at least the president the United States is no way well did that was still factual statement he may be wrong factual statement there was a pectoral. Statement that they asked opinion questions I've been questions only 35% of the people were able to get the opinion questions. The interesting thing is when you get into the crossed him some breakdowns when they break it out Republican Democrat everything. And and they think the key finding was that people who had high trust. In the national media were able to get 39%. Of these statements correct whereas people who said they have low trust they they they don't believe the media. Only got 18% right I mean I think that's that's the biggest difference and I ain't going through the survey I found. We're with our round table talking backed verses opinion in new pew survey says that most people. Can't really tell the difference can't correctly identify. Factual statements. Verses opinion Mike I go Kevin Harvick. Joining us live in studio. Mike you know a lot of this to me when I look at some of the questions being asked that look at the results from the survey. It comes down soon enough so much anything about politics or the state of the news media but instead. Reading comprehension from everyone who's looking at the news. Listen you know book called how to lie with statistics and depending how you asked the question and so on it's going to put any kind of spin you want to you know just like deal questions like how long you've been beating your wife you know crazy stuff like that you get the response you want depending how you frame the question. So you can you can spin anything anywhere short right now you guys both teach college students. Kevin you teach it contentious Mike expert Sonia what are the college students like in in your classrooms are they. Do they seem to have any kind of trouble with this distinct distinction here between in effect an opinion. I I think many of them were like the rest of us I think they probably do a little bit better at least because he's just as we have the cream of the crop of course. But for known in Mexico and everybody is right up there are going one anyone beats. But but yet they have a little trouble and I'll tell you the bigger problem and Mike mentions how lie with statistics that is a huge huge problem I see it in the county legislature all the time. People coming there with their when their backs or their facts or statistics. I mean there's the old joke three ways the lies lies damn lies and use statistics. On and it's it's true people can be in there with their with their facts they'll say well you know the the that the cost housing inmate is 3030000. Dollars a year at the big county have facility and so if you take this programming you get to inmates out of there you'll save 60000 dollars well not really what they're doing is they're making. They're they're they're they're blurring the the distinction. Between average cost in marginal costs if you've taken micro economics you would know the difference. But just because we take one he made out of out of a jail or one student out of my way X class doesn't mean we save 30000 dollars or put one in that doesn't mean we. It costs us 30000 dollars it's ridiculous but they use these facts all the time it's it's everywhere. And and they eat these day he day influence policy and end my students need to know the difference and that's why teach. 88 segment in mile college underscores entitled lies the lies and statistics. I mean they're out there every. Buffalo is the third. Most impoverished city in America well maybe maybe not depending on how you look at it what you're comparing it to be your cities like San Antonio Texas. Can attend the next their suburbs you know how buffalo could become less impoverished get off the top ten. Of the most and conversely they could the next in Amherst I think it. We can't do that in New York if they can do it in taxes secure Texas if you're Dallas if your San Antonio appear Houston you can the next year you know her so the world and become that not in poverty that that would make any fewer people in poverty it would make make them the plight of people in the inner city any better or worse but it would change this statistic and that sort of thing is done. All the time every day I see yet. People try to influence music county legislator people try to influence their congressmen or senators it it's there. Kevin you're talking about looking at statistics are wondering might get when you're teaching your students in journalism and communications on how do present statistics does that ever come up with well what are your thoughts that I had a couple web sites I kind of stress in my syllabus is that the use one is reverse Google images. When my favorite pictures is during his time he used in floods would Donald Trump was supposedly rescuing somebody putting a hand out. Is a function on your Google bar there if you go down to the camera and either drag your religion they are opposed the URL. You can reverse a picture and find out if it's the real deal where it came from into a search of that. Likewise couple is a uses snow stuck Condrey good source occurred it was a lot you can do Google surged there's many many credible web sites which actually do all the work for you. But the nice thing is I think my students are generally pretty skeptical. I don't what's the basis of what the teachers bounded into the more right but I have to say if you don't estimates are gonna say suspicious should your radar being out and shouldn't take. Almost everything with a grain of salt until you're absolutely sure. Well well you're sure you eat you should let you know this is this is just like. Buying a car or anything else you believe what people tell you when you end up with something you probably you know two days after you body is they didn't really wanna Ibis. And people who should know better sometimes though I was telling the story yesterday when my colleagues when they and the woman's work march on Washington about a year ago. When my colleges outrage because Mike Pence supposedly said those Roman should be harmed cooking clings and husband are marching out of things. And I set a whole world that's it's that's a web site the onion it's satire it's not real but she had bought into it so. He can eat you know it's the same way every remember when that when Sarah Palin was right for vice president. Most people thought she said she could see Russia from her house which was actually Tina Fey on Saturday night I just really I. That is if you don't you know something to art becomes things Tesla. Draw as they go on and we're talking about that with our round table Mike I go Kevin Harvick joining us live in studio you know have we as news consumers say generally in this country then maybe. So low to adapt is that why we find ourselves in this problem today you know Mike it used to be you'd turn on CNN and that was the news. Now you turn on CNN and it's a million Talking Heads with a million different opinions. And they're leaning one way or another you turn on Fox News they're leaning one way or another. You don't get that straight news anymore but maybe you were still expecting it exactly right. Because that's become the standard the opinion journalism which fox is done very successfully everyone else's copy monkey see monkey do so that's the problem until become opinion journalism not just hard to easily it's supposed to be. That's opening always teacher Michael decision on. I don't want your opinion. Says who I remic papers tonic dimes says who the big question argue got attributed to something and that's now or boxing and mainstream media ex Kevin your thoughts on his tail. Well I mean I mean we've seen obviously we've seen a blurring. Facts and opinions in in the news not just in news consumers but the news producers. You know it did that they have Walter Cronkite being the most trusted man in America for a long long gone and your uncle Walter growing up a vocal Walter told you. This was happening then that was happening. Now even that and that's just the Talking Heads not just the people were fighting with one another the people who are supposed to beat presenting the news oftentimes. The line between. Fact and opinion is is blurred there and it's it's disconcerting. Well where is in the past you didn't really have to search for your hard news now you kind of do you have to dig a little bit to find something that's unbiased that is. It might as you said it. Targeting us and the irony is that there's so much more are available right me when when Mike and I were growing up you had your three choices right and maybe. Radio station to get well maybe maybe the PBS station but he had yet you know he had three or four choices and had like half an hour of national news today and then you have to wait till the next day in and in newspapers. Now it's 24 hours it's the Internet there's so much out there as a slower and I kind of just contributes to the problem because that that it it does all Hitler. It's like an overload you've got because of Twitter right. Brett and the Internet and blogs and everything else yet to sort through that anybody can you Germans. Out is of course steer the citizen journalist but that's the problem you ratings is what's driving the engineer because he sings or having ratings success. Everybody's jumping on the bandwagon for opinion journalism as opposed to fact based journalism and that's the basic problem. And we not caught up to that you know you mentioned that you only use them those threes are now you have so many different places you can get the news. To people maybe just not do enough digging I'm in the. And here's the other thing here's the other thing is as it is is a difference between. Maybe my generation and your generation. Brian when you win again when Mike and I were growing up if you want to be around in the latest in technology right. Did today what what today would be the iPhone or whatever. You let it bask in the glow of the TV and you've got that news every day what you monitored. He must be near the TV and you heard uncle Walter or whomever gives you the news. Went my. My kids are growing up when you were growing up. You could avoid use entirely you can just MTV herb you know sports channels or whatever you do have to be near their end and then they you've got your video games and your your iPhone you could stay away from the news and there are a lot of people. Especially younger people who don't know anything about government. Because you know they weren't exposed to Mike and I hate you don't if only to less most of us we couldn't avoid it at the TV was on the from 630 to seven at night you were against national and who is finding out about the war whatever else. Mike maybe that's part of the problem is if you're just all of a sudden exposed to it say when you turn 161718. It's a little bit of an overlook. Yeah the lines are deathly blurred I think we postings and other part of the problem and let people see stuff on faith is it's gonna need usher their friend regardless whether it's credible but just think it's interesting and so it goes in and summons his bones is well. And kind of becomes true because he keeps going and going and going going. And if you wanna believe something he'll look for it and. And believe it where they're not a stroke right back especially big DC so many things posted time if you're timing faced again almost becomes credible unto itself. Yeah we have our own echo chambers exactly right now I mean it's it's just like. TV shows there are very few TV shows now that the whole family can sit down and watch I mean again when. When I was growing up you head variety shows like Ed Sullivan there was something for everyone and dad until the deviant dad trilogy but everybody definitely rusty meet together now you yell someone's watching sports down in the room someone's. You know watching your music videos or whatever some you know some sort of rational reasons number one house yeah. Around twenty different screens here's what we're talking about this morning it's a new study by pew researcher says only 25% of the US adults. Could fully identify factual statements from opinion. In news stories. The whole study and the quiz you can take it it's at WB EN dot com this morning we've been studio with us. Mike I don't professor of communications at SUNY for don't yet. And doctor Kevin Hardwick professor at can nation's college of political science from member of the Erie county legislator. Legislature. And he's also they host a hard line here on WBM and Sundays. Remember when we first heard the term fake news. I think that was during the presidential campaign. Is this the result of the study. Would you say. Well I think I think that. I Aaron I think that the think do's my mantra feeds right into this study I mean I think there is is a connection. And and I think a lot of well it it people who are willing to believe. That. The mainstream media are our fate don't agree. You inherited itself time after time because it's so fulfilling prophecy you know the good side this overs at first I was very annoyed by fake news. But I thought it's becoming very teachable moment because now my students are watching Donald Trump very carefully. And it's given me the opportunity to jump in and say this is not what should be especially with the opinion journalism. I'm really stickler for the fact that you just with the facts I don't want to hear your opinion you gotta have attribution I really stressed that that's what the mainstream media is not doing nowadays. Now part of this study showed that Republicans and Democrats more likely to see factual and opinion new statements as facts. When they favor their side so in other words if you find something you agree with. You say OK that's a fact no matter if it's a fact opinion Europe or you mentioned the echo chamber. That brought kind of living in now I mean you can't you can go an entire day you can go right entire month you're only looking at stories that you agree. Sure sure well I mean it's just like you know you watch your favorite baseball team if you're Red Sox fan then you try to get the Red Sox gains of your Atlanta Braves fan you try to get the elaborates the same thing. If you like conservative news you go to Fox News in fact the study shows. That Republicans are more apt to believe. Something as a as a fact when this report bind by Cox news and and I'm sure the same thing is for Democrats have a son that MSNBC and then they're more likely to believe it. And that's what I do my basic journalism class I require them is an exercise to. Specifically go to website C typically do not go to any end in and tell me what they've visited what they found. They got to get out of their comfort zone because as you say you're right you're gonna go to where you typically wanna go if you don't you're only getting one particular point do. And we say that that kind of help students watch the opposition. Right for sure. We want it and if you're really interesting getting all sides. Of the of the issue again you'll watch box you'll watch CNN and MSNBC where he is though they furlough and and they they they I'll tell you they they are very very different. I was thinking about that going in I was you know I hit a balanced person if you told me going you know a balanced person would watch two hours of Fox News that much two hours of CNN and they see both sides of the argument that I'm thinking what is second. You're hearing both sides of the argument are you ever hearing this straight new ways ago it's one thing to hear both sides. Which should we wanted just hear the facts. But that's not the nature media nowadays opinion based journalist and as I mentioned has become the mantra for college because it drives ratings. And that's wild didn't copping on another monkey see monkey do and on the line. This is probably why this country so polarized because of the news right. Well the country's polar ice for a number reasons. That's that that's this this isn't without knowing they and then hand out. Well I I want to bring the sucks is I found this yesterday after I knew we would be having you guys in and this is just a tweet yesterday. And it I think it kinda goes to show the echo chamber that everybody listened that you can take anything. And so way it however you want I mean. It's a tweet from Phil Elliott is a reporter for time magazine tweet yesterday the president says can date this is. The entire tweet the president says Canadians come to the United States by issues scuff them up and smuggle them back to Canada. That's the entire tweet now beat the meaning of this way I look at this and I say one. Yeah I see that all the time at the gallery amount that's entirely true but on the other hand. He's writing this tweet not everybody sees that it the sole purpose of that is to make the statement and the president look absolutely ridiculous. Yet it is a fact that is what the president's idea I. Can you take anything at face value nowadays when you see something like this meant to make someone look bad it is a fact it is something he said. Some people know it happens other people think it's absolutely ridiculous. I mean what do you take something like this taken from. A reporter for time magazine something they used to be considered real hard news. It's blessed to promise contradiction you can take any just like television editing you know you can get it done a sound bite to have someone say would every want to. And that discriminate so that's exactly the problem context but again the nature of the beast with Twitter character limitations aren't so it's not a line but it's not the whole story either. You know I was I was watching year old station channel two last night it was much in the NBC. Nightly news and I thought they did a a nice job of presenting both sides of the immigration argument I mean there were the crying kids in the kids in the cages and and all that. But then he did a story about some ranchers whose property many of these illegal immigrants go through when these were. These were nice people and they made their case of mean they put out watering stations for them because many America Thursday. But the ranchers were all for this policy and they were saying that. You know many of them have died exceeded happened you know sort it panic a bail so mean you know I mean. They did a nice job they at least try to present both sides of the argument too often. You'll see one or the other. And without. Without the proper context but the other thing and that's stories that there is some false audio going around the Internet of actually some crying kids which was not real immigrant -- actually taken out of a movie I can't remember where was taken out of it and was bogus but it was put on the Internet as kids crying being separated from their parents false stuff on the Internet remarkable thing for America. Given how many people. Heard that and say and do it exactly right because he got out during kept getting repeated and posted etc. it's there it's there Kevin Hardwick and Mike I go joining us in studio a new study out by pew research that says only 25% of US adults can fully identify factual statements from opinion. In news stories so let's take the Quist and you can also take at a listeners at WB EN dot com but there are ten statements. You guys to shut out the answer okay effect or opinion immigrants who are in the US illegally have some rights under the constitution. That fact Perry democracy is the greatest form of government. That's they opinion who want it is and I certainly I share it to. Our health care costs per person in the US at a highest in the developed world. Took that as effective as individuals yes and do another one who want to the whole thing but president Barack Obama was born in the United States. On the health like a trick question yes it was. It is that is that is I mean that's that's say each deck can neither be proven or disproven the factual statement a lot of people may disagree with that but yeah that is a fact we'll stay on all really the president of the United States disagreed with the trainers. It's something that can be part of it. You guys scored 100%. I want with the whole thing that they finally at the US or people on this morning I can't embarrassed for my students and get right back at the quiz though by the way is at WBN dot com if you wanna take it for yourself when the whole point of this is that so many people are having trouble. Differentiating factual statements verses opinion statements and especially. As it pertains in news items you know Kevin before we were talking about to something you saw last night talking about the immigration debate. And news story you saw last night that showed the images it children in cages separated from their families also told the stories of people who live on the border seeing people die crossing the border presenting you know both sides of a complicated issue. That doesn't happen very. On Digg is he doesn't it doesn't happen in the heart out to do that because if you just see once I did you say. Why is this even the question I cannot believe those people are doing this you know you've been fed is that a problem that we're so used to just seeing one side Obama were asked to think about it. I mean it's just well it may be why they are certainly certainly at least in the in the cable realm. I mean there's an interest in not showing both sides because you want to attract. You're segment of voters who are very liberal or conversely very conservative. And you want them to feel at home there he does and you don't like tees since joining. College season is they want you to capture interest someone little snippet of one little aspect that. Here's another problem. How much it. How many people just read headlines and don't bother reading stories and stroke and make opinions based on you know just a few words that's right web sites placed a giant birdie on headlines and also just a little snippets because of course they want to keep clicking through clicking through and staying on the page for certain at a time if they click bait culture it's become you know kind of in the media industry. Almost a vital to keep their business right going but it hurts the consumers who are reading the concept. Right especially if you get sent to all these on the web site tutorial from the same company's website of course and a gazillion we got five corporations are basically owned 90% of American media and now with the AT&T deal going through it's gonna change a landscape again. A lot of the same information just spend a little differently from different sources that'll by the same company. Ike came in here I was a good mood you're making me very depressing a thought that's that's a side. Way to address and I recommend you refer to yourself. I mean other key words to that that this may be drive people. For people just trying to distinguish between fact and opinion are there some keywords that are used maybe sometimes it. That make you think something is a fact when in fact. Good they the the key phrase would be process. Now half the people are gonna think well it's it's back the other people are gonna say it's an opinion and that's wrong you know I mean really. Well stressing there's lots and lots of web sites that you can go to verify things I mentioned snow stuck on an annoyance common sense dot org just came to mind. Just your basic neurosurgery Yahoo! Search you can find many organizations that are dedicated to tell you the true story that any source of news Brit. You have even people who will look at sites like those who a look at factual articles and say no this is fake because. They don't agree with it is there any escaping that giving away from that have disagreeing. Or saying something's fake news just because you disagree with that even if it is. Factual how to we get away from. You don't because fake news is so ingrained in mind that people workshop of course is they use every time doesn't like something. You know it's different and he's a businessman had people who could spin things from now your president got into the whole world so faked his uses wave you know dusting off. Do we get away from that Kevin at all. I I don't know how we do IE I really don't I mean. You know you have to you have to reliant individuals. Two to look at that look for both sides of the story so look at CNN and then go over to Fox News. And and quite frankly people have lives. You know they don't they don't have to that. And and I don't necessarily blame them. I was asked this is this is Mike's business is is what I do. And I don't expect everybody to just get no more than I expect Mike and I did find out how old the engine and our car works we don't like to go in and turn the ignition if it goes that's that's fine. I wanna go on an art to people so ingrained in media and politics is there truth. To ignorance is bliss. Tim not paying attention to in not being caught up in any of it. In in my life there is then yes so I think so I think there's such a thing as too much information sometimes and sometimes just it just wanna watch something crazy and team via. Yeah okay. So little information overload the sour indeed mr. Mike thank you you're like from SUNY for Tony and Kevin Hardwick. From can nation's college still here on Sunday morning here on WB and hardline with Hardwicke.