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TV "programming" of the masses

A reader writes that the media's portrayal of last week's tragedy skews viewers' opinions and gives encryption a bad name.


TV "programming" of the masses

In response to the Sept. 18 article, "U.S. citizens back encryption controls":"

Did anybody think to look at the survey in question? As far as I know, this was first published in "Monday's Hotline," a daily political newsletter read by just about everyone in Washington, D.C., which suggests that 74 percent of America is confident that national and local law enforcement can stop terrorist plots in the United States.

Interestingly, 71 percent think that the United States should attack terrorist bases and countries that support them even if there is a high likelihood for civilian casualties.

And 72 percent think that reducing the availability of encryption would help the CIA and FBI prevent similar terrorist attacks.

As the margin of error is 3 percent, we are seeing the same result for all three groups, which I think might support the hypothesis that this is TV "programming" of the masses at its worst. Interesting that this seems to be the media companies generating a groundswell of support for "drillable encryption" that their media distribution arms require in order to have any hope of clamping down on "unauthorized redistribution" of content on the Internet.

Notice that the phrasing of the encryption questions was heavily slanted. Given that most of the people responding to the poll probably wouldn't know what encryption was even if it knocked on their door, I suspect that had they asked "Should atomic shielding be reduced to aid CIA/FBI surveillance?" they would have received a similar, knee-jerk reaction.

Just one question: Are you watching too much TV?

Carl Wagener
Fairfield, Iowa