Friday, January 27, 2017

All the news that's unfit to print 2

In my continuing war against stupid, worthless, ridiculous factoids in the newspaper, this latest piece of evidence:

Do we really believe that 20% of the American public thinks that meeting new people is "harder than selling snow to a snowman"?  Maybe, if the question was phrased something like this:

I think meeting new people is harder than:  

A.  herding cats

B.  pulling teeth

C.  selling snow to a snowman

D.   pissing up a rope

E.   putting toothpaste back in the tube

You'd probably get about 20% response for each of the options.

I might mention that the sponsor of this "survey" is an app that lets you "get to know new people without the awkwardness of one-on-one meetups."  Well, at least that ought to cut down on date rape.


  1. I recently saw online that Reddit bases what topics/articles people see based on the public at large's up or down thumb rating. So essentially the morons at large are decided what topics and articles I see. Ugh. This must be why there is info about celebrities everywhere.

    1. Although I am disappointed in the falling standards of much newspaper journalism, I still think it's better to let a staff of professionals with training and a supposed code of ethics decide what content to put in front of you than to trust that decision to an algorithm. So I get my news from newspapers, not Reddit or Yahoo News or Facebook. I think we're in grave danger as a society if we don't understand the difference between verified reality and fake news or alternative facts or whatever you want to call it. Which is why I rail against stupid things like this in the paper.

    2. Oh I agree. It's appalling. Someone tested a bunch of high school students and found that they couldn't tell the difference between a real news story and fake news. Couldn't tell.
      I wish we could go back to when there was some sort of journalistic ethics. There was a story on NPR today that the current crop of journalism younguns (read on this) feel that they should dump out way more info and not worry so much about privacy or ethics. They call the more reliable outlets (The New Yorker, New York Times, Wall Street Journal) "Legacy publications". From what I could tell, this meant "old-fashioned". It was a very disappointing interview.

  2. Quite apart from their source - only 1000 survey participants? Thanks to some recondite statistical reckoning, the minimum sample size for a reputable poll is 2,004. In the UK, at least.

    Perhaps that's a factoid that means nothing, in the face of the greater issues at stake.