People say a lot of things

If you have a video camera and go into any crowd of people, you can find folks who say virtually anything. I’ve seen a number of people online erroneously claiming that such videos can “prove” stereotypes about all of the people in a certain demographic. That doesn’t make any sense. These videos don’t prove anything.

I don’t subscribe to #bothsidesareequallybad, but this flawed thinking is not limited to one political persuasion. Most of these videos are cherrypicked. The respondents with the most provocative responses are selected. The respondents who fulfill the agenda of the people making the tape are the ones who end up in the final product.

When scientific polls are conducted, they involve randomly selecting people from the general population; the larger the sample size, the better. This is the least biased way to ascertain the consensus of a large group of people. Recording videos at specific events or on specific streets is not random and the sample sizes within these videos are usually very low. That’s not good.

I’ll admit that some comedians can make very funny videos like this. Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show did this very well, and the entire premise Billy Eichner’s Billy on the Street involves him interviewing random people on the streets on NYC. Humorous or not, they don’t prove a damn thing.