Niagara Gazette

Columns

November 6, 2012

CONFER: The race-baiting Associated Press

Niagara Gazette — The Associated Press is an important part of our everyday lives. AP articles can be found in more than 1,700 newspapers across the country, including this one. Thanks to that exposure, the AP drives the American conversation, their reports being fodder for the talk at the dinner table, at the water cooler, and on the radio.

With this media cooperative possessing such power and influence — setting the standard for news in America — one would expect the organization to exercise a great amount of responsibility to their readership when distributing their reports. This is not always the case with AP, and it was made grossly apparent in a recent article that appeared in Sunday papers on Oct. 28.

The article in question was headlined in this paper as “Poll: Racial divide in the country has grown”. It analyzed an AP poll that looked at racial attitudes in America. Not written in a subjective or all-inclusive manner as good reporting should be, the writers cherry-picked -- and even manipulated -- the data and the entire focus of the article was on how allegedly prejudiced whites are against blacks. According to the report, a majority of Americans now hold explicit anti-black attitudes. It’s a slight majority (51%), but still an unfathomable number nonetheless. One doesn’t even have to read the survey to know the assumption is bunkum: Think about your white friends, family, and coworkers; do you really think that 1 out of every 2 of them despise blacks?

If you go online you can find the full survey and its results at surveys.ap.org. The alleged disdain of blacks was determined in the breakdown of responses under the series of questions identified as RAC11 where there were 11 traits in which the respondents are asked to rate a race on how well that trait describes it, running the gamut from “not at all” to “extremely well”. There are 9 positive traits (like hard-working, intelligent at school, and good neighbors) and not one of them saw a “not at all” response rate in excess of 3% for blacks. That number is but a fraction of the assumed 51% of racist beliefs, so it’s obvious that the survey analysts considered a “slightly well” or “moderately well” response to constitute a negative belief since they weren’t in the full positive. How is that good surveying?

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