“Whether it’s a scientific study on day care or health care, hunger in America or the environment, once it gets into the hands of journalists—look out! You may think you’re getting the straight story—but it ain’t necessarily so, as this aptly named book makes clear. But beware: It Ain’t Necessarily So may confirm your worst fears about the media. Which is precisely why it’s such an important contribution to our understanding of how things really operate inside the American newsroom.” —Bernard Goldberg, author of Bias
“Wonderful reading.” —Chicago Tribune
Introduction: Making News and Making Sense: The News That’s “Fit to Print”
Part I: The Ambiguity of News
Chapter 1: The News That Isn’t There: Stories That Are – and Aren’t – Covered
Chapter 2: Much Ado about Little: Making News Mountains Out of Research Molehills
Part II: The Ambiguity of Measurement
Chapter 3: Bait and Switch: Understanding “Tomato” Statistics
Chapter 4: The Perils of Proxies: Is There a There There?
Chapter 5: Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full?: A Look at Statistics from Both Sides Now
Chapter 6: Polls Apart: The Gertrude Stein Approach to Making Sense of Contradictory Surveys
Chapter 7: The Reality and Rhetoric of Risk: Telling It Like It Is – and Isn’t
Chapter 8: Distinguishing “Reports” from Reality: Confusing the Map with the Territory
Part III: The Ambiguity of Explanation
Chapter 9: Blaming the Messenger, Ignoring the Message: Do Motives Matter?
Chapter 10: Tunnel Vision and Blind Spots: The Danger of Hedgehod Interpretations
Conclusion: Hard to Tell: Journalism, Science, and Public Policy – An Inherent Conflict?
Afterword: The Anthrax Feeding Frenzy