Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Are Shopping Malls "No-Go" zones?

Since I am out sick, I got to hear Charlie Sykes bring up John Mecure's report on violence in shopping malls. Maybe there's more to it than this, but it strikes me as an example of pushing the facts beyond where they can comfortably go. Mercure begins - "shootings, sex assaults, armed robberies" - time to be alarmed! - but having suggested that this description has something to do with what goes on in the malls, the balance of the story doesn't deliver. From what Mecure reports there has been one shooting (which he mentions twice) and a report of shots fired (but were they?). He reports no "sex assaults" although there was apparently a call for one. The statistics he cites show no armed robberies (although I'd have to think there were some.) There are a lot of thefts, but my guess is that this is largely shoplifting. Hardly surprising at a mall. "Experts," he says, "recommend that you do not go into a mall alone at night." I know that its a brief TV news report and it would be unreasonable to expect a reporter to say which experts, why they are experts and just why they say this, but it seems overwrought to me.

One of my own pet peeves about the MSM is that it seeks to attract readers, listeners and viewers by telling us how much we have to be afraid of or worry about. Back when I would have been caught dead watching the Today Show (a day which has long since past; nowadays its strictly E.D. Hill for me), you could hardly avoid the impression that life was well nigh unlivable, what with all the hidden time bombs" of something that you shouldn't be eating, the "threat" imposed by some financial precaution you hadn't taken and the "heartbreak" of some condition that just about everyone has and somehow still manages to live with.

I'm not saying that Mecure intentionally hyped this but, if I'm going to be afraid to go to the mall, I need more than this.

1 comment:

elliot said...

Extensive studies using laboratory rats indicate that being alive eventually results in death 100% of the time.