Studies show… People are…

Studies show… People are…

For years, I have been trying to put my frustration with hogwash into more formal terms. I may have found a way.

I believe in evidence. Growing up, my dad used a gravity to engrain the notion. He asked me to pick up a coin and drop it. When I did, he asked me to do it again. He then got up to get a drink and a snack from the kitchen, insisting that I keep dropping the coin while he was away. I was seven at the time. After about three or four minutes, he came back into the living room. I, the obedient son, had continued to drop the coin diligently, at which point he asked: “Did it ever, not drop?” “Of course not,” I obviously replied. “That my son is evidence.” Fast forward to my physics class eight years later, to the day we were talking about gravity. That was my moment of epiphany. That was the moment I understood that some claims are undeniable evidence, other claims are hogwash. Unfortunately, in today’s world of news hyperactivity with pundits by the bucket, claims are rampant.

What does your brain reply when you hear the often spoken TV pundit words: “Studies show…” I hit the roof. I want to know which study, produced when, by whom, using which methodology. We cannot let pundits get away with study claim after study claim without holding them accountable. And yet, we do. What’s more, for those living inside bubbles, these ‘studies show’ comments serve to reinforce the mistruths. I get the exact same shiver when I hear the “People are…” statement. In the US, we have the more national: “Americans are…” or “Americans largely support…” or whatever. No, what you mean is that the dozen or so people that you have talked to about this issue believe. Or, that people who fit your political or demographic profile believe that… Here again, we let people, pundits and politicians get away with the claim to be the spokespeople of all people when in fact they are the misspeakers of the few.

Occasionally there is a star. Occasionally, there is a reporter who does their job and calls the guest out. They will not take vacuous claims sitting down. They want to hear facts and when they hear claims, they want them backed up. I know who they are. You might too. I just wish television news producers and bosses of all flavors would opt into this way of conducting an interview.

So, the next time you hear someone use one or several studies as support for their position, have them show you the study and all its credentials. And the next time someone claims to speak on behalf of a swath of people, have them commission a proper third party poll that validates their assertion.

My studies show that people are fed up with empty claims! {The guy at the coffee shop tells me I’m right!)

– End of Post –

Cemil Alyanak

Communicator. Perception analyst. Filmmaker. Photographer. Senior Policy Advisor. Amateur Radio Operator. Military officer. Pilot. Adventure biker. Husband and dad.

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