Carnival of bias

I have just read a Sky News article on the Notting Hill Carnival that consisted entirely of negative stories from Sunday at the event. Details of the horrific stabbings, arrests and injuries were provided. Around one million people attended the event. There was no mention of the music, the artists, the food, the costumes and diversity of cultures on show. This made me wonder why.

Have you ever read a report on Glastonbury that focussed entirely on the criminal aspects of that event? The drugs, fights and rapes that have occurred? If you haven’t have you wondered why?

For comparison:
A) Notting Hill Carnival Sunday: 1,000,000 attendees with 71 arrests.
B) Glastonbury festival 2015: 175,000 attendees with 75 arrests.

Firstly it leads me to question why the inconsistency in the reporting of the two different events. Secondly it leads me to imagine the consequences of this.

If I am peaceful and interested in attending Carnival I may be frightened away from it. If on the other hand I am a young guy about to turn up I may now do so expecting trouble. If I wasn’t sure about taking a knife before I may well want to take one now. If I wasn’t going there with a defensive attitude I may well be going there with one now. If I was someone aggressive who fancied a fight I can be sure to find one if I attend Carnival based on these reports.

In my opinion this reporting creates a cycle. If the carnival is associated with trouble, trouble will follow. Unilateral news reports like this do not highlight a problem they actually work to exacerbate them.

In addition to this the two events attract different demographics. In the mind of the public who do not attend either event those demographics become associated with the characteristics of the event. That is a part of an even bigger cycle.

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Carnival of bias

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