Airplane crashes. The AIDS epidemic. Presidential election polls and voting results. Global warming. The latest cancer scare. All these news stories require scientific savvy first, to report, and then-for news consumers-to understand. It Ain't Necessarily So cuts through the miasma surrounding media reporting of scientific studies, surveys, and statistics. Whether the problem is bad science, media politics, or a simple lack of information or knowledge, this book gives news consumers the tools to penetrate the hype and dig out the facts. Don't stop flying, run to the doctor, or change your diet before reading It Ain't Necessarily So.
David Murray is the director of research at the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS). Joel Schwartz is an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and is the author of several books. S. Robert Lichter is co-director of the nonpartisan Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) and co-author of over ten books, including Peepshow (ISBN 0742500101). All three authors live in the Washington, DC, metro area.
Part 1 Introduction Part 2 The Ambiguity of News Chapter 3 The News That Isn't There: Stories that Are-And Aren't-Covered Chapter 4 Much Ado about Little: Making News Mountains Out of Research Molehills Part 5 The Ambiguity of Measurement Chapter 6 Bait and Switch: Understanding "Tomato" Statistics Chapter 7 The Perils of Proxies: Is There a There There? Chapter 8 Is The Glass Half Empty or Half Full? A Look at Statistics from Both Sides Now Chapter 9 Polls Apart: The Gertrude Stein Approach to Making Sense of Contradictory Surveys Chapter 10 The Reality and Rhetoric of Risk: Telling It Like It Is- and Isn't Chapter 11 Distinguishing Reports From Reality Part 12 The Ambiguity of Explanation Chapter 13 Blaming the Messenger, Ignoring the Message Chapter 14 Tunnel Visions and Blind Spots: The Danger of Hedgehog Interpretations Chapter 15 Conclusion: "Hard to Tell": Journalism, Science, and Public Policy-An Inherent Conflict?