Thursday, April 16, 2009

47 times its weight in excess stomach acid

A reminder from the Lower S.C. Bureau that proportions can be accurate without being complete or relevant. The chart appears to show more or less what Slate contends says it does: Health insurance premiums grew at six times the rate pay did across the study period. (I don't know what the orphan "2008" is doing down there on the X axis; Slate probably doesn't either.) The trouble is, without something on the Y axis, we can't tell if it's comparing increases of 0.6% and 0.1% or increases of 24% and 4%. I'm already scared; it'd be nice if I could be scared and informed at the same time.

This is the sort of stuff editors are paid to point out, and it's a useful reminder that dumb journalism online isn't a different kind of journalism. It's a different kind of dumb.

"I view all of these things online as part of the trend toward 'no copy editor needed' for our new Twitter/Digg/Yapp age," writes the burean chief. "I fear for the brains of our descendants." Me too.


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8:55 PM, April 17, 2009  

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