Broadcast TV Rewrites the News
A dispatch from social media
Earlier this week, I wrote on the ideological divergence between online news media (left-liberal) and broadcast television (centrist or outright conservative) in New York City. Since the piece ran, ABC 7, one of the four major news broadcast stations in the city, has further confirmed it will not abandon a particular narrative: New York is a very dangerous place to live.
Yesterday, ABC’s Twitter account shared a story from the Associated Press on crime statistics in New York City. The piece itself, a nuanced analysis with historical perspective, was prompted by the Republican congressional hearing on violent crime in the city. ABC, or Eyewitness News as it’s known locally, repackaged the story with its own tweet and headline. That itself isn’t terribly notable—publications that run AP wire copy can choose their own headlines for the web and social media—but it does become an issue when the repackaging creates a wholly false impression of what appears in the article.
Consider the headline: “Are crime rates in NYC higher than they have ever been? Experts weigh in.” The question suggests, quite plainly, it is plausible that crime in New York is the highest on record. Experts, indeed, might be testifying to this fact, or strongly considering it. For anyone scrolling through Twitter, the image and headline are enough to confirm that not only is crime a problem, but it’s breaking some kind of record. Think about it hard enough, and you become terrified.