No Facts on the Today Show

On almost every ‘news’ show I watch today, I’m almost always stunned by some supposed fact (or the way it’s positioned) that makes me say, “Huh!?!”

This morning’s NBC Today show was no exception and I call “bullsh*t” on their report.

A segment about rising gas prices was one I wanted to see so was flipping back-n-forth between CNBC and NBC and caught the segment in its entirety.

The report illustrated one main point — about how rising gas prices were affecting average Americans this upcoming summer driving season — by showcasing a San Francisco family who’d decided to forgo a driving trip to the Grand Canyon and instead opted to drive to Orange County, CA (and then Today noted that the family would try to save even more by staying with family on their trip vs. staying in hotels).

This was my first ‘Huh?’ as I know the rough mileage from SF to AZ and from SF to the Los Angeles area, and this factoid about gas prices didn’t add up so I grabbed my laptop and looked up some rough and conservative stats about the difference in mileage and what gas might cost this struggling family:

  • San Francisco, CA to Grand Canyon, Arizona
    765 mi — about 14 hours 19 mins
  • San Francisco, CA to Long Beach, CA
    406 mi — about 6 hours 16 mins (up to 7 hours 50 mins in traffic)
  • Mileage difference would equal 359 miles. Even if this family drove a Ford Expedition and averaged, say, 10 miles per gallon and gas was at $2.75 per gallon, the cost of the driving trip one way would be $98.72 or less than $200 total for the family vacation.

My second “Huh?” was the probable real decision making criteria for this unfortunate family of four: The total cost of the vacation, not just the gas prices.

Even if they’d stayed at Motel 6’s on the trip and ate all meals at the cheapest possible restaurants, their vacation cost on a Grand Canyon trip would undoubtedly exceed $1,000 and “staying with family” on an Orange County, CA trip would save those hotel costs, many meals out, save that ~$200 in gas, and so on.

Positioning this family as making their decision on gas prices alone was disingenuous at best and flagrant misrepresentation and a breach of journalistic ethics at worst. In any event, this is a perfect example of why there is such low regard for TV news reporting among those of us who think for ourselves.

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  1. PXLated on May 19, 2009 at 11:06 am

    You mean you still watch that garbage, I gave it up as a waste of time 🙂

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.