Thursday, July 2, 2009

lies, damn lies and statistics...

Got wound up this morning when i read the front page of the Irish Times. The screaming headline said the unemployment rate will soon climb to 500,000. I thought the Irish Times should know better.

They quoted the live register as their source, which is in not a reliable source of the true amount of people unemployed. Please read my previous blog -26th June -about why unemployment statistics are artificially high if you want to know why this figure is wrong.

The media's dramatisation of the bleakness of the labour market is tormenting people who are already petrifed of losing their jobs or have recently been made redundant thanks to their inaccurate sources and misinterprtion of data.

Manipulation of statistics lends credibility to weak journalism in an attempt to sell papers. So they misquote, misinterpret and massage figures to grab headlines and build a provocative story which winds people up as they don't understand statistics.

Next time you read some crap along the lines of '78% of people think that... have a think about who this '78%' of people are. Who are the people they surveyed? How many people were surveyed and where did they find them? Was it a random sample of people who shop in Brown Thomas or a few people asked a few questions to a survey as they collected their pensions in a post office in Kenmare? You can be sure that most data is collected from tiny samples, twisted to suit whatever 'truth' the sponsor seeks.
If i use statistics in forthcoming blogs but i don't quote a source be sure to call me to task with a comment. (80% of you will forget you read this!)

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