Tag Archives: trust

How U.S. media lost the trust of the public

A global pandemic, historic anti-racism protests and a turbulent U.S. presidential election had Americans glued to their screens in 2020 like never before. Cable news ratings soared, online news subscriptions increased and the amount of time we all spent online broke records.

But as people consumed more news, they also began to trust the media less, surveys showed. According to a recent Gallup survey, the percentage of Americans with no trust in the mass media hit a record high in 2020: only nine per cent of respondents said they trust the mass media “a great deal” and a full 60 per cent said they have little to “no trust at all” in it.

The American media landscape has become increasingly polarized over the last few decades. 

A Pew survey suggests 95 per cent of MSNBC’s audience are now Democrats while 93 per cent of the Fox News audience are Republicans. A similar trend is unfolding online. 

“There’s a constant selection process that’s going on, that Silicon Valley is encouraging and accelerating,” said U.S. journalist and author Matt Taibbi in the new CBC documentary Big News. “If you read the Daily Caller, you are not going to read the New York Times and vice versa.” 

Meanwhile, the media’s traditional sources of revenue have been uprooted. More than 16,000 news jobs were cut in the U.S. last year alone, the highest on record. 

“Profitability is disappearing. Losses are growing. And budgets are tighter and tighter,” said conservative commentator and author Andrew Sullivan. “And the truth is … polarization is profitable.” 

WATCH | Matt Taibbi and other media critics on the loss of trust in media:

Journalist Matt Taibbi and others reflect on the loss of trust in the U.S. news media and the parallel rise in ratings. 1:47

Online metrics also show that the best way to get people to engage and spread content is to inflame their emotions, said Taibbi, who wrote the book Hate Inc.: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another

CBC’s Big News, which was released March 26 on CBC Gem, examines some of these issues in depth by interviewing media insiders and critics who dig into the ratings wars, public mistrust, the Trump effect, the politicization of the anti-racism protests and the pandemic, and the weaponization of social media. Coming off a record-breaking news year, the documentary asks, can the U.S. media be saved from itself?

Watch some highlights below:

Capitol Hill riots expose trust crisis in the U.S. 

Every year, the public affairs company Edelman releases a trust barometer that measures perceived trust in the information we consume and its sources. This year’s report paints a particularly bleak picture.

“This is the era of information bankruptcy,” said CEO Richard Edelman in a statement. “We’ve been lied to by those in charge, and media sources are seen as politicized and biased. The result is a lack of quality information and increased divisiveness.”

“Fifty-seven percent of Americans find the political and ideological polarization so extreme that they believe the U.S. is in the midst of a cold civil war.”

Some of the experts interviewed for the documentary said that polarization and the increasing alienation from mainstream media among parts of the American population contributed to the convictions that drove the deadly Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.  

“Jan. 6 was the logical result of the profound disparity between the elites and a lot of people who had been profoundly misinformed,” Sullivan told the CBC.

WATCH | MSNBC host Ali Velshi and others on media polarization and the Capitol riot:

MSNBC host Ali Velshi and others analyze how the U.S. media landscape contributed to the events at the Capitol on Jan 6, 2021. 2:26

How cable news became polarized in the U.S.

Until the 1990s, American broadcast news was focused on gaining the largest possible audience with the least objectionable content, Taibbi says in the documentary. 

“It was oblivious in all sorts of ways to poverty, to race, to issues of sexual orientation, to America’s role in the world, but it knit together a common understanding. And that common understanding drove politics,” Lawrence Lessig, lawyer and author of They Don’t Represent Us, told CBC.

By the early 2000s, as competition increased and regulations softened, that profit model began to change and media outlets began targeting specific demographics.

WATCH | How did media become so polarized? Experts offer their take:

Lawrence Lessig, Sue Gardner and others explain how and why American broadcast news became increasingly polarized. 7:50

Journalists increasingly seen as ‘out of touch’

According to a 2019 Pew survey, 73 percent of Republicans say news media don’t understand people like them, and 40 percent of Democrats feel the same way.

Local news has been particularly hard-hit by recent job cuts, which means journalists are now increasingly congregated in big urban cities, such as New York, Washington and Los Angeles.  

“Those cities are expensive, and so you have to be wealthy to be a journalist, which didn’t used to be true,” said Sue Gardner, former director of the Wikimedia Foundation and CBC.ca. 

“People don’t know journalists anymore unless they themselves are also part of the wealthy elites, so all of that creates more distance.”

Former Fox & Friends host Gretchen Carlson grew up and worked in the Midwest for decades before becoming a Fox News host in the early 2000s. “There are a lot of people who feel like their voice isn’t being heard,” she told CBC.

WATCH | How journalists lost touch with their audiences:

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson and others dig into the divide between journalists and their audiences. 1:39

Global pandemic another test of media credibility

The coronavirus pandemic was another event that polarized Americans, and the media played a part in that, those who spoke with CBC for the Big News documentary said.

One example, says New York Times health reporter Apoorva Mandavill, was the shifting and increasingly politicized coverage of the mask debate.

“I think that as journalists, we were disoriented at the beginning, and we probably didn’t ask quite as many tough questions, like, ‘Why wouldn’t masks work?” Mandavilli said.  

“It really did feed into this idea that we cannot trust anybody.”

According to a University of Michigan analysis, COVID-19 stories in American newspapers and network news were highly politicized and polarized.

“It is likely that media coverage is contributing to the polarization of public attitudes [around COVID-19],” the study concluded.

WATCH | Why even coverage of the pandemic became polarized:

How the American news media’s coverage of the COVID-19 crisis put people’s faith in media and experts to the test. 5:14

Watch the full documentaryon CBC Gem

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CBC | World News

Sports groups defrauded by their own members face uphill battle in rebuilding community trust

Whenever an organization is the victim of theft, the impact can be deep and long lasting. When money is stolen by an employee or volunteer, it can take years to rebuild trust with the community.

That’s certainly the case for youth sports organizations, which every year provide countless programs and opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Canadian families.

An investigation by CBC Sports reveals that in the past decade nearly $ 8 million has been stolen from dozens of sports leagues and associations across Canada, almost all of it by someone inside the organization, leaving it and the families who participate devastated.

“In every article that I read, the parents are shocked. And I look at that and I’m like, well, why are you shocked?” said Erik Carrozza, a Philadelphia-area accountant who has documented dozens of similar stories across the United States. “Think about it for a minute. You have a person with all of these financial resources available to them with no governance, no oversight, no accountability.”

Darren Harvieux says rebuilding trust in his small Newfoundland community was one of the key reasons he volunteered to take over as treasurer of the Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association after it was discovered last year his organization had been defrauded of about $ 80,000.

With a financial background and two young children who play in the league, he was concerned about how theft had tarnished the way minor hockey was now viewed in the community.

WATCH | Why community sports organizations are vulnerable to fraud:

CBC Sports reporter Jamie Strashin speaks with Jacqueline Doorey about his latest investigation into fraud in youth sports organizations across Canada. 4:23

“The stigma around the hockey association and the community is something that I didn’t like to see kids grow up in,” he said. “I still tell stories about back when I used to play hockey with all my buddies, and I wanted to make sure that the children in this association had that same chance. 

“So to be able to come back, build the trust and keep the hockey going was definitely top priority for me.”

Harvieux said the theft left the league in “an extremely difficult financial situation.” But through intensive extra fundraising, cost-cutting and countless hours of volunteer efforts, all the outstanding money has been replaced, he said. 

None of it has been easy. Beyond restoring the organization’s finances, efforts have been focused on rebuilding trust and convincing people that governance changes have been implemented.

“We were almost fighting an uphill battle, trying to gain back the trust of 400 children’s parents and guardians who bring them to the rink every day,” Harvieux said.

Harvieux says the new group of volunteers “basically started from ground zero” in rebuilding the league’s finances. They were transparent with parents and creditors, keeping everyone informed about what they were doing through monthly reports and open meetings.

Corner Brook, N.L.’s Darren Harvieux says the Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association has completely changed the way it handles its finances to avoid leaving responsibility in the hands of a single person. (CBC)

Harvieux said the entire way the league conducts its business has changed.

“There’s no one single person involved in whether it be the banking, the cash handling, paying employees, it’s always a team approach,” he said. 

“We want to make sure that there’s always people watching. We want to make sure that if somebody had a question, we could answer the question on the spot.”

Carrozza, who founded the Center for Fraud Prevention to help youth sports organizations implement prevention strategies to reduce the risk of theft, says transparency in an organization is critical for regaining trust.

OMHA short on details

But the Ontario Minor Hockey Association, which was defrauded of $ 2.4 million dollars in 2018, has communicated little to the thousands of families it represents about exactly how it lost so much money. 

The organization also has not publicly outlined what organizational changes it has implemented to protect against future thefts.

The OMHA briefly acknowledged the theft in a letter to members and during its annual general meetings but offered no details to members around accountability and took no questions.

The OMHA declined requests for an interview, telling CBC in a statement that despite a guilty plea already being in place, any comment “could affect the sentencing hearing.”

That lack of communication prompted Murray Taylor, former president of the Newmarket Minor Hockey Association, which falls under the OMHA’s umbrella, to write the organization’s leadership calling for executive director Ian Taylor to be fired or resign.

“No manager in any truly professional organization can adequately explain why he/she didn’t notice budget deviations in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per month,” Murray Taylor wrote. “That is a managerial level of incompetence that simply cannot stand.” 

No manager in any truly professional organization can adequately explain why he/she didn’t notice budget deviations in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per month.– Murray Taylor in a letter to the OMHA

He says he never received any response.

Murray Taylor said that while most youth sports organizations are run by volunteers, the OMHA is run by a paid executive, tasked with administering hockey for much of the province. 

“My issue is with that professional arm, because I think that professional piece of it needs to be held accountable for what is going on,” he told CBC Sports. “My concern is, what have they changed, what processes have been put in place to protect themselves from it happening again?”

‘Parents are hesitant to come forward’

Murray Taylor is one of many OMHA members who CBC spoke to about the organization’s handling of this case, but one of the few willing to discuss their concerns publicly.

“It comes back to the concern around how coming forward might impact my child if you start asking questions,” he said. “Parents are hesitant to come forward because they’re worried about how it might impact their child. I think that has driven hesitancy in a lot of people’s minds about coming forward.” 

In audited statements, the OMHA says all but $ 120,000 of the stolen money was offset by insurance, but Murray Taylor says that shouldn’t absolve the OMHA from reform and accountability.

“There’s got to be a faith that when I hand over the money I’m going to get what I’m expecting to get from it. This could have really impacted a lot of hockey programs negatively,” he said.

“We were fortunate in that it didn’t hurt. But again, that doesn’t negate the fact that this happened. And how is it being addressed? That would be my question.”

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CBC | Sports News

Gabrielle Union Jokes 12-Year-Old Zaya ‘Does Not Trust’ Her or Dwyane Wade With Homeschooling

Gabrielle Union Jokes 12-Year-Old Zaya ‘Does Not Trust’ Her or Dwyane Wade With Homeschooling | Entertainment Tonight

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Stadia Is a Graveyard Because Devs Don’t Trust Google, Either

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When Google launched Stadia last year, it tried to put a brave face on a deeply uncertain debut. The Stadia launch was barebones, even for what was a relatively barebones service. Five months after launch, things haven’t improved much, with just 28 games currently available on the platform.

A number of game developers gave their thoughts on Stadia and discussed with Business Insider why so few indie developers have shown any interest in porting their games to the platform. The individuals and studios they spoke to raised issues in three broad categories. First, and the one intrinsic to any new platform or service, is that Google Stadia is a brand-new effort with no built-in audience. But because every new product or service goes through this phase, it’s important to have a good strategy for dealing with it. The typical way companies develop new markets is to offer substantial incentives to software developers to port games to its platform. According to the developers themselves, Google isn’t really doing this.

Stadia-offered incentives are variously described as “non-existent,” or involving an amount of money so low, “it wasn’t even part of the conversation.” It seems noteworthy that this is happening to indie developers, specifically. While Shovel Knight and Untitled Goose Game aren’t going to drive the numbers that Doom Eternal or Cyberpunk 2077 will, indie developers don’t need AAA budgets to make it worth their time to port a title to a new platform.

In and of itself, this isn’t necessarily alarming, either. Google is claiming it will launch 120 games on Stadia this year and it appears to be focusing on AAA titles. It’s possible that the company believes it needs to build its market by emphasizing top-tier launches with same-day or soon-after availability rather than building a back catalog of indie titles. It’s possible this difference in funding is part of a difference in strategy.

But if the low audience figures and near-zero funding is bad, the last piece of the puzzle is worse. According to Business Insider, every single developer they spoke to expressed very little faith that Google would put any effort into building Stadia into a long-term service. When a survey of developers reveals that every single one of them is concerned enough about the longevity of your platform to bring it up unprompted, it tends to mean you’ve got a serious PR disaster on your hands.

Google’s response to this news was remarkably tone-deaf. Here’s BI:

When reached for comment, Stadia representative Patrick Seybold said, “The publishers and developers we speak with regularly are very supportive, and want Stadia to succeed. It is also worth pointing out that not every publisher has announced their games for Stadia so far, and more games will continue to be announced in due course.”

In Which Google Reassures Precisely No One

Stadia has a problem: People don’t trust Google. When told that many developers don’t trust Google, Google’s response is “The publishers and developers we talked to want Stadia to succeed!” Imagine if you told your partner or spouse that you had serious concerns about whether you could trust them to keep their word and they responded with “My mom says she trusts me!”

Now, imagine what an actual response that addressed the problem might look like. “We at Google understand that our policy of killing services many people valued has created the fear that we might treat our customers poorly. Nothing could be further from the truth. In order to reassure customers and developers that we are in this for the long haul, we are pledging to operate Stadia until at least December 31, 2025.”

That’s not the only option the company might take. Google could alternately pledge to operate the service for at least 12 months after deciding to cancel it, to give people time to play titles they’d previously purchased. It could take a truly radical step and promise that all Stadia customers would receive refunds on every title purchased in the previous 12 months in the event Google decided to cancel the service. It could also make it clear that this guarantee would only apply for the first few years of the service’s life and that it was explicitly being offered as a way to reassure gamers that they could count on Stadia for the long haul.

Google has an unusual product model with Stadia, an unproven distribution system, and severe trust issues. Typically, when companies sincerely want to enter a new, highly competitive market like gaming, they do so with their absolute best foot forward. The original PlayStation pioneered a new approach to third-party game development. Microsoft’s original Xbox was the first console to ship with an integrated ethernet port and Xbox Live revolutionized online play for console gamers. When Valve decided to start requiring its customers to use Steam (and everyone hated Steam at first debut), it tied the requirement to the launch of Half-Life 2, betting that one of the best games in history would be reason enough for people to try its new online service. The Epic Game Store has been highly controversial with gamers, but as far as developers are concerned, it absolutely followed this model. The EGS promise for developers is simple: “Sell your game with us and keep more of the profit.” Valve, meanwhile, has updated the Steam client more in the past year than any recent time I can recall. GOG recently announced its own incredibly generous return policy as a way of building customer loyalty.

My point in recounting all of this history is to illustrate that companies involved in every aspect of gaming commonly try to create customer loyalty by offering good deals or new features. Google could spin a service guarantee to be entirely in the spirit of this kind of outreach, but it doesn’t. Instead, we get the PR equivalent of “My mom thinks I’m cool!” There’s literally zero chance that Google hasn’t noticed the fact that almost every single article about Stadia raises concerns about the platform’s longevity. The company isn’t responding to the issue because it either doesn’t want to commit to supporting its own service or thinks that ignoring the fact that no one trusts it will magically make the problem go away. It won’t. Every month that Google refuses to address the fact that no one trusts Stadia to remain in business only reinforces the perception that the company isn’t serious about its own product.

Then again, it took Microsoft months longer than it should have to realize that the Xbox One unveil was an utter disaster requiring nothing less than a complete and immediate overhaul of the product. But if Google doesn’t figure things out soon, Stadia is going to die — not because it had to be this way, but because Google found it inconvenient to admit nobody trusts it.

This is a solvable problem. The solution is called “Spend the money required to do it right and prioritize good service over immediate profit.” It might require making some guarantees of service or experience that go beyond what Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, or Valve would offer. That’s literally the historical norm for how new companies compete for gaming dollars. When Sega wanted to compete with Nintendo, they designed an entire console game around the idea of an experience different than anything Mario offered. GOG survived for years as the only remote competition for Steam by offering a DRM-free platform. Asking Google to address its own weak points isn’t unreasonable when the company is asking you to pay full price for games with no assurance of long-term access, and the company’s stubborn refusal to perceive that fact is going to prove deadlier to Stadia than any rival ever could.

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ExtremeTechGaming – ExtremeTech

These are the countries where people trust vaccines the least

Trust in vaccines — one of the world’s most effective and widely used medical products — is highest in poorer countries but weaker in wealthier ones where skepticism has allowed outbreaks of diseases such as measles to persist, a global study found on Wednesday.

France has the least confidence of any country in the world in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, with a third believing that vaccines are unsafe, according to the study.

While most parents do choose to vaccinate their children, varying levels of confidence expose vulnerabilities in some countries to potential disease outbreaks, the study’s authors said, recommending that scientists need to ensure people have access to robust information from those they trust.

Public health experts and the World Health Organization (WHO) say vaccines save up to 3 million lives every year worldwide, and decades of research evidence consistently shows they are safe and effective.

But to achieve “herd immunity” to protect whole populations, immunization coverage rates must generally be above 90 per cent or 95 per cent, and vaccine mistrust can quickly reduce that protection.

“Over the last century, vaccines have made many devastating infectious diseases a distant memory,” said Charlie Weller, head of vaccines at the Wellcome Trust health charity, which co-led the Wellcome Global Monitor study.

“It is reassuring that almost all parents worldwide are vaccinating their children. However, there are pockets of lower confidence in vaccines across the world.”

Deconstructing myths

The spread of measles, including in major outbreaks in the United States, the Philippines and Ukraine, is just one of the health risks linked to lower confidence in vaccines.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, false rumours about polio vaccines being part of a Western plot have in recent years hampered global efforts to wipe out the crippling disease.

We try hard to convince them of the huge advantages vaccination brings.–  Marie-Claire Grime

The study, led by Wellcome and polling company Gallup, covered 140,000 people from more than 140 countries.

It found 6 per cent of parents worldwide — equivalent to 188 million — say their children are unvaccinated. The highest totals were in China at 9 per cent, Austria at 8 per cent and Japan at 7 per cent.

The study also found that three-quarters of the world’s people trust doctors and nurses more than anyone else for health advice, and that in most parts of the world, more education and greater trust in health systems, governments and scientists is a also sign of higher vaccine confidence.

In some high-income regions, however, confidence is weaker. Only 72 per cent of people in North America and 73 per cent in Northern Europe agree that vaccines are safe. In Eastern Europe it is just 50 per cent.

Heidi Larson, director of the vaccine confidence project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, worked with researchers on this study. She said it “exposes the paradox of Europe” which, despite being a region with among the highest income and education levels, also has the world’s highest levels of vaccine skepticism.

For Marie-Claire Grime, who works in a pharmacy northeast of Paris, questions about vaccines are a daily challenge. They come mainly from parents who say they’re worried about “a lot of chemicals” being put into their children, she says. She does her best to allay such fears.

(Wellcome Global Monitor)

“We spend time deconstructing the myths. We try hard to convince them of the huge advantages vaccination brings,” Grime told Reuters at her shop in the town of Bobigny. “It is sometimes discouraging to find ourselves repeating the same things all over again.”
The French have emerged the large global survey as the biggest skeptics in the world about the safety of vaccines.

In poorer regions of the world, trust levels tend to be much higher, with 95 per cent in South Asia and 92 per cent in Eastern Africa feeling confident that vaccines are safe and effective.

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CBC | Health News

Ebola outbreak shows trust sows disease spread

The persistence of Congo’s Ebola outbreak and its deadly spread to Uganda in recent days show how societal issues are as crucial as scientific advances in controlling disease outbreaks, specialists in global public health say.

Medical scientists, prompted by a devastating West African Ebola epidemic between 2013 and 2016, have worked fast to develop cutting edge vaccines, treatments and antibody-based therapies they hoped would prevent or halt future outbreaks of the virus. That includes an Ebola vaccine developed by Merck & Co Inc that proved more than 95 per cent effective in clinical trials.

But the current Ebola outbreak has continued to spread relentlessly since it began in August 2018 in Democratic Republic Congo’s North Kivu province.

It has infected more than 2,000 people, killing at least 1,400 of them. And, in recent days, it reached Uganda, where several cases have been recorded, all in people who had come across the border from Congo.

Public health experts say this underscores the importance of factors beyond medicine — such as trust in authority, engagement and accurate information — in successfully controlling outbreaks of infectious diseases.

“Even in the presence of sensitive rapid testing, drugs and a vaccine, this Ebola outbreak has continued to burn on,” said Ian Mackay, a virologist and associate professor at the University of Queensland in Australia.

“The core drivers are all key human issues of trust, habits, fears and beliefs. That is the mix that now underpins the spread of any disease.”

Social barriers

Those seeking ways to end the Congo Ebola outbreak’s longevity and persistence say the issues it raises go to the heart of what public health means in the 21st century for countries across the world, rich and poor.

The World Health Organization cites mistrust of authorities in Congo, with attacks on healthcare workers and patients avoiding treatment centres, as major factor in the failure so far to contain the Ebola outbreak. Similarly, it cites anti-vaccine misinformation campaigns in the United States, Ukraine and elsewhere as allowing measles to spread furiously among people who are fearful and confused.

There is so much information flowing, it gets very difficult to pick out the truth. This is not unique to Ebola or Africa — it’s a global problem.–  Daniel Bausch

Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust medical charity and a specialist in global health, draws parallels between the challenge of containing Ebola in Congo and issues elsewhere, such as the surge of cholera in Yemen and the spread of measles in Ukraine, the United States and the Philippines.

The barriers are more social than scientific, he says.

“No public health can work without the support of the society it’s in. The science is clear in all of these things, but unless it has not just tacit support, but engaged support, then public health really struggles,” Farrar said.

A key factor has been greater international travel, and the increased information sharing that comes with it. That is “a double-edged sword,” says Daniel Bausch, director of the UK public health rapid support team and an expert on the Ebola virus.

A health worker enters the Biosecure Emergency Care Unit at the ALIMA (The Alliance for International Medical Action) Ebola treatment centre in Beni, Congo, in March. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)

While improved communication flows can help public health authorities track diseases and spread messages to people about how to protect themselves, greater access to a vast range of information can make the public become more skeptical of authority and can spread misinformation, including about vaccines, Bausch said.

“There is so much information flowing, it gets very difficult to pick out the truth. This is not unique to Ebola or Africa — it’s a global problem,” Bausch said.

Build trust

Emmanuel André, a doctor and professor at Leuven University in Belgium who has been working with people in Congo affected by tuberculosis — another infectious disease — says the way to counter distrust is to engage with people directly affected by a disease or who have direct experience of a medicine to harness their experience.

“Medicine and public health have not yet learned how to deal with humility and mistakes,” he said.

“How can we ask trust from the people in the North Kivu when political authorities, United Nations agencies and international NGOs have jointly failed to provide primary services — including health? How can we ask them to expect that these same actors now would be able to provide a solution?”

A study André conducted in Congo in 2014-2016 found in the detection of tuberculosis — a disease that can spread widely if people with it don’t come forward for treatment — training volunteer screeners from local communities, mainly people who had themselves been treated for TB or had a family history of the disease, improved diagnosis rates and engagement.

“Building trust with the people is critical,” he said.

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CBC | Health News

'I don't trust any of these Uber drivers,' says former NHLer Anson Carter

Former NHL forward Anson Carter wasn't surprised when news broke Monday night of a video being posted online involving Ottawa Senators players joking about and criticizing their team's coaches and defence. He thought it would be occurring more often.

"You see cameras all the time. People could be eavesdropping on conversations or live streaming them," the ex-player-turned studio analyst says over the phone.

In the five-minute recording, from the dash of an Uber driver's van or SUV on Oct. 29 in Phoenix, Senators players Thomas Chabot, Dylan DeMelo, Matt Duchene, Alex Formenton, Chris Tierney, Chris Wideman and Colin White are shown talking about the team's ineffective penalty kill and mocking special teams coach Marty Raymond.

Seven Ottawa Senators players are apologizing after a video surfaced of them trash-talking and ridiculing their assistant coach. Postmedia found the video on social media and re-posted it. 4:18
“Even though you think you’re in a car by yourself, somebody’s always watching and listening,” says Carter, who last played an NHL game during the 2006-07 season for Carolina. “I go into every car assuming someone is listening.”

Carter didn't act that way before the Washington Capitals acquired him in a Jan. 23, 2004 trade with the New York Rangers for fellow forward Jaromir Jagr.

Summoned to coach's office

Shortly after reporting to his new team, an appreciative Carter was told the private driver for Capitals general manager George McPhee (now GM of the Vegas Golden Knights) would take him to his condo in New York so he could grab some belongings before the team's next game in Philadelphia.

Sitting in the back seat, Carter says he was on the phone with his hairstylist to help arrange her flight to New York from Edmonton, where he had played the previous season. When you have dreadlocks and find someone who does your hair properly, says the Toronto native, you go to great lengths to have them see you.

About two weeks later, Carter was summoned to Capitals head coach Glen Hanlon's office.

“He was ripping me about something and later said, ‘We do you a favour to let you get your stuff in New York and you’re taking advantage of flying in broads and partying?'”

Shocked at the accusation, Carter left the meeting to join his teammates at practice but couldn't stop thinking about his coach's words. He later infered that McPhee's driver must have twisted the story and told the GM and/or Hanlon.

"He probably heard 'Female, flying in early, on a day off,'" Carter says of the driver. "He's not hearing about her doing my hair. I was pissed. This was an invasion of my privacy. Someone was eavesdropping on the conversation and [the Capitals] either planted this guy … and that was not a good look."

McPhee mum on incident

Carter, who was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings less than six weeks later, said he never discussed the matter further with either McPhee or Hanlon and hasn't had the opportunity to do so since. Hanlon now coaches in Hungary.

You wouldn't expect them to throw you under the bus since they're paid to take you from Point A to Point B, but now I know.— Former NHL forward Anson Carter on Uber drivers

"We'll respectfully decline commenting on this matter," a Golden Knights spokesperson, speaking on behalf of McPhee, told CBC Sports on Tuesday night.

The Capitals, under different management, said they no longer have a personal driving service for the team.

Carter, who played for eight teams in 10 NHL seasons, says he chose to share his "eye-opening learning experience" to warn athletes to never assume the driver from a car service will respect your privacy.

If Carter receives a call from his wife or two daughters while travelling for work with NBC and MSG Network, he tells them he'll call back when he's in his own car.

Players' comments 'no big deal'

"I don't trust any of these drivers," he says. "You wouldn't expect them to throw you under the bus since they're paid to take you from Point A to Point B, but now I know.

"I look back and I'm actually thankful it did happen to me because it'll never happen to me again."

Zack Smith and Craig Anderson fielded questions about their teammates' conduct during an Uber ride in Phoenix in October. Seven players have apologized for mocking assistant coach Martin Raymond. 0:35
As for the aforementioned Senators who criticized their coach, Carter says players’ airing such feelings with each other “is no big deal,” noting coaches during his playing days were also critical of players behind closed doors.

Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean agreed no one should be shocked that people may make inappropriate comments while kibitzing late at night.

Weak penalty kill

"This story … is just really troubling," he said in an upcoming Hockey Night in Canada podcast. "It creates in us a little paranoia about 'God, if we ever go out drinking again what do we do?'

"I don't know what we could have done to maybe alter the storytelling … but one thing that really leapt out at me when the story broke was the way it finds its place at the front of the headlines without nuance, without maybe a fairer reporting of understanding, of compassion, some of the things that I think are appropriate."

A group of Ottawa Senators players got caught red-handed talking about their coach… but only because an Uber driver released his dashboard footage. Who messed up more? 1:17

Ottawa entered Tuesday's game against New Jersey with a 5-6-3 record and 29th among 31 teams with a 68.8 per cent success rate on the penalty kill.

"I'm sure the guys on the penalty kill aren't just carving the coach and not saying anything in the room," says the 44-year-old Carter, who scored 202 goals and 421 points in 674 NHL regular-season games. "You want to have that constructive conversation [with the coach]. That's how you improve."

Turbulent times

The video recording is the latest scandal for a team that's been riddled with them lately.

Negative headlines dogged the Senators last season, including a threat by owner Eugene Melnyk to move the team if ticket sales didn't improve. And in May, the wife of former captain Erik Karlsson filed an order of protection against Mike Hoffman's fiancee, claiming she had posted over 1,000 "negative and derogatory" comments about her on social media. Both Karlsson and Hoffman were traded in the off-season.

"Unfortunately, it's another blemish on the organization but I like how the team has played so far this season," says Carter. "I think their future is bright with [rookie forward Brady] Tkachuk, [defencemen] Chabot and [Maxime] Lajoie, [forward Jean-Gabriel] Pageau and [Craig] Anderson in net."

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Which JD Power Study Should You Trust the Most?

Hardly a month goes by when there isn’t a JD Power & Associates survey on car reliability. Some of the results may not report what you think. Studies conflict each other to the extent that a top-five vehicle may be below average on a different study. That’s especially the case with the late June Initial Quality Study: It reports the number of “problems” cited per 100 new vehicles in the first 90 days of ownership.

Here’s our take on which survey matters the most. It also helps to understand why there are so many studies (Power wants to stay in business), and why everything about Power studies is payback for the founder getting blown off by US automakers, which spent the 1970s fat, dumb, and happy, and ignored the rising quality of Japanese cars and the appeal of smaller, sportier European cars.

Chevrolet Silverado, IQS top-rated large light-duty pickup. Main photo above: Genesis G90, tops in large premium car segment.

The Many JD Power Surveys

JD Power & Associates started out surveying car quality in the US. Now it goes worldwide with surveys on cars, cellular service, tires, electronics, finance, healthcare, insurance, and travel. Power generates demand for its surveys by publicizing the top lines. Power ranks all automotive brands top to bottom, but breakouts for individual segments only show the top three in many cases, and not those below average.

Power also makes money licensing the rights to use its logo in advertising. The largest part of the business is research and insight for individual companies. Some automakers joke nervously (and anonymously) that when a new survey comes out and they don’t fare so well, they’ll hear quickly from their Power account rep about a program to help understand and remedy the problem.

The company was founded in 1968 by John David Power III, who went door to door trying to interest automakers in surveys showing their strengths and weaknesses. US automakers at the time thought they knew enough and blew him off. In the 1970s, Power’s surveys showed Japanese cars increasing in quality. In 1984, Subaru used the Power logo in a Super Bowl. As more car shoppers used the Power surveys as buying tools, automakers signed on for more and more of the Power research. The company grew enough that JD Power III was able to cash out in 2005 in a $ 400 million (estimated) deal.

The Big Two: Vehicle Dependability, Initial Quality

Among the many car studies, the most influential are the Initial Quality Study (IQS), released June 20. According to Power, “Initial quality is measured by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) during the first 90 days of ownership, with a lower score reflecting higher quality.” Eight categories are measured. Vehicle exterior is the most improved category in 2018, while audio-communications-entertainment-navigation (ACEN) remains the most problematic. The others are interior, features/controls/displays, seats, climate controls, powertrain, and driving experience. But IQS also reports things people don’t like (brake dust) or can’t make work (infotainment). It’s possible automakers who sell to stupid people are hurt in this survey.

The other main survey is the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) released in February. It asks owners (or leaseholders) about problems they’ve had over three years. These problems are more of the things-that-broke problems. It used to be five years, but Power, sensitive to what is most of interest to buyers and dealers, switched to three years. That dovetails with the most common lease turn-in period.

The table above shows the 2018 VDS on the left, in order of finish, and 2018 IQS, on the right, with each brand on the same line. Each side shows the rank in the survey, the brand name, the problems per 100 vehicles (based on different questions), and how much better (+ sign) or worse the brand is compared with the average score, in percentage points. The far right column shows the difference in a brand’s rank on VDS and IQS. The first line shows Lexus as -7,  meaning it was first in VDS and seven spots lower, eighth, in IQS.

How much do the scores correlate? Of the 30 brands with scores for both surveys, 13 are within 0-3 places of each other. But 10 of the 30 are at least 10 positions apart. The biggest discrepancies include Ram trucks, where IQS is 16 spots better than VDS, and Cadillac, 15 spots better on IQS than VDS.  Buick, third on VDS, was 16 places lower on IQS (-13). Audi, 13th on VDS, was 25th on IQS (-12).

If the brand is good on long-term reliability (VDS) and below-average on short term quality (IQS), the fault may be an overly complex infotainment system. It also might be that the automaker has a new-generation vehicle out for 2018 and it’s got teething problems.

Which study is more useful? If you’re concerned about reliability, and especially if you’re keeping the car for more than five years, use VDS, knowing you’re getting information on things that were true with cars people bought new in 2015. If you’re leasing, or worried about complex infotainment systems, look more at IQS.

Also know that cars get more reliable (long-term quality, VDS style) every year. And the best cars are getting easier to use. The top-rated model on the 2018 IQS was the Porsche 911, which experienced 48 problems per 100 cars in the first 90 days. On average, the owner of a Porsche — talk about a complex car — experienced one half of one problem.

Porsche 911: one problem for every two Porsches in the first 90 days.

2018 IQS Drilldown by Model

Here is the breakout by car category for 2018 vehicles. Power lists a winner (top scorer) in each category, plus two others receiving mention. Porsche’s 911 isn’t cited here because there weren’t enough models with enough sales volume (responses for at least 100 vehicles) to have a winner and runners-up.

JD Power & Associations Initial Quality Study

Small Car. Kia Rio. Also: Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Bolt
Small Premium Car. Acura ILX. Also: BMW 2 Series, Mercedes-Benz CLA
Compact Car. Toyota Corolla. Also: Chevrolet Cruze, Kia Forte
Compact Premium Car. BMW 4 Series. Also: Infiniti Q60, Lexus ES
Midsize Car. Nissan Altima. Also: Kia Optima, Ford Fusion
Midsize Sporty Car. Ford Mustang. (No other models above average.)
Minivan. Dodge Grand Caravan. Also: Kia Sedona, Toyota Sienna
Midsize Premium Car. Lincoln Continental. Also: Genesis G80, Lexus GS
Large Car. Nissan Maxima. Also: Ford Taurus, Chrysler 300
Large Premium Car. Genesis G90. Also: BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Small SUV. Hyundai Tucson. Also: Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Small Premium SUV. BMW X1 (tie), Mercedes-Benz GLA (tie). (No other models above average.)
Compact SUV. Buick Envision. Also: Ford Escape, Honda CR-V
Compact Premium SUV. Lincoln MKC. Also: Porsche Macan, Mercedes-Benz GLC
Midsize SUV. Kia Sorento. Also: Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Explorer (tie), Nissan Murano (tie)
Midsize Premium SUV. BMW X6. Also: Lexus RX, Porsche Cayenne
Midsize Pickup. Nissan Frontier. Also: GMC Canyon (tie), Honda Ridgeline (tie)
Large SUV. Ford Expedition. Also: GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Tahoe
Large Light Duty Pickup. Chevrolet Silverado. (No other models above average.)
Large Heavy Duty Pickup. Chevrolet Silverado HD (tie), Ford Super Duty (tie). (No other models above average.)

Power cites the top car in each IQS category (more if there’s a tie), and up to two more (plus ties) as “also ranked,” but only if their score is above average.

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