Thursday, December 6, 2007

The media does math

I find the media frustrating. Journalism whether print, radio, television, internet or other media has a responsibility to report verified factual information. A task that is proving difficult for mathematically challenged reporters in the capital city.

The following examples all come from recent reports in sources that I hold to be reputable resources for accurate information.

1. A recent report on Global news by long time anchor Gord Steinke. The actual story is of little relevance and in fact my memory of the actual facts is over shadowed by the statements made in the report. Mr.Steinke was discussing a particular parties change in policy, a change which would have them heading in the opposite direction to their initial course. Opposite, okay. I quote “xxxxx has taken a 360 degree turn to head in a new direction”

A 360 degree turn ! It is requires very basic grade school knowledge of math to know that if you turn 360 degrees, you are heading the same direction.

2. The Edmonton Journal on December 5 reported on the shortage of beds in local hospitals and the elective surgeries that were cancelled as a result. “25% of elective surgeries were cancelled…”, “…of the 50 surgeries scheduled 25 were cancelled” Well which is it 25 of 50 therefore 50% or 25% of 50 which is 12.5 surgeries (aside; I would hate to be the guy getting half a surgery!)

I won’t even comment on the fact that they reported from “The University Hospital of Alberta Hospital” ?!?!?

3. And the final straw, albeit not the most solid of sources for news and the reporter won his job in a contest. However this again required only the most basic of math skills. The report on Sonic radio this morning was about the marathon session at the legislature this week. “the 22 hour session started Tuesday at 6 pm and ended Wednesday at 9 pm” hmmm seems to me that “22 hour” session lasted 27 hours.

These are but a few examples of miss information in the media and really they are small miss spoken facts. Though the details may be small in insignificant to the meaning of the stories, it is the lack of attention to detail that I take offence with.

Next they will tell me that the ‘Trixy’ the sunshine girl doesn’t really have a love for animals and hope for a career as a legal assistant!


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