Tuesday, January 31, 2006

sunny optimism

I have always been a sunny optimist when looking at trends in the human condition (see my column from the Stanford Daily). Like many economically trained, it always pained me to see that Shark Attack news stories always spiked when the actual number of shark attacks was steeply declining. Similarly for church burnings, kidnappings, homework epidemics etc.

So it didn't surprise me to read that last year as stories about Methamphentamine epidmics, rampant teenage sex on the rise, depression spriraling out of control, when in fact, drug use is steady, teenage pregnancy is on the decline, the number of teenagers having sex is down, suicide rate is down.

What did surprise me is that I felt the media was more responsibile about it this year. The Economist and NPR's On the Media both ran stories about these media mistakes. Perhaps the media is getting better too.

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