I happened to have an argument about the “credibility” of such shows as Today Tonight and A Current Affairs. Those with long memories may very well remember how A.C.A. reported how the drug Roaccutane, a drug treatment for acne, was, not the was, causing suicide among those on the trial here in Australia, and beyond trial in the United States. I happen to be on this drug, but only after this argument had it’s way. That who I was arguing against stood firm that A.C.A. couldn’t be wrong, possibly because it was on T.V., or because their argument was so convincing.
I, on the other hand, hate, despise and meet each advert (because I refuse to watch such pathetic shows) with utter contempt, and would take anything they supposedly “report” on with a pound of salt, much less a grain. I did watch this Roaccutane segment, as they drug had come up, without judgment of the suicidal type, prior in conversations with doctors. I watched this and laughed as I thought “Who would be so foolish to believe such drivel”. Unfortunately, someone, at the time, who would be responsible for allowing me to get on the drug, did. Each time it came up that I’d need to go to the next step of treatment, Roaccutane was always put down. Well, time passed and I finally became old enough to make the call myself. Turns out that I do get it, and no problems, no increase in suicidal thoughts or depression etc.
But this isn’t about me, it’s about the crap shows that pass themselves off as conveying facts and “true” reporting. I did a year of Psychology at Uni, and though I eventually decided it wasn’t really ‘for me’, I did take a lot from it and would consider finishing out the degree at a later time, because it is very applicable. But, like I said, I took a lot out of it, and a rule I now live my life by is, and everyone should remember this little saying:
Correlation is not causation
That is to say, because results correlate together does not mean any of those means measured are the actual causes. This statement proved the fallacies of the pre-scientific theory, the sexist and racist societies of, well, the pre-1960s (and such a late date itself is appalling, but wait, it gets later), and for the “freedom lands” of America, the pre-1970s. The statement manages to apply to, pretty much, any stereotype, prejudice and pre-conceived notion, good and bad, for all people. And generally, with the reports that the A.C.A. and Today Tonight shows put forward, that’s one thing you need to keep in mind.
The second thing is that, as with all T.V. shows, all around the world, they are competing for ratings. Pure and simple, they are creating stories, yes, creating, that they hope is more interesting than the other channels and, thus, hope that you tune into them. That’s why you will see something about diets, a supposed ‘tear-jerker’, something to get you mad and then how the government is screwing you over somehow. It’s generally safe to say that each show will contain at least one of those, if not more. And it’s a sad state of affairs that people are actually watching and believing these shows when all they are doing is showing one side of an argument, hiding facts, or portraying people in certain lights for public opinion and to attract viewers.
Pure and simple: these shows are rubbish. They hardly convey items of news or real interest. A shonkey and dishonest builder versus, say, a war raging in Iraq: the shonkey builder gets air-time. This is what Australian television has succumb to: absolute drivel. And why no one is actually speaking out against it is well beyond me.