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Nov 122008
 

So this morning I am sitting in front of the TV with my caffeine fix and some news channel on to break up the silence. On comes this item about how a school has shown a dramatic improvement after having introduced a new disciplinary regime. Something like an increase of 25% in pupils getting 5 or more GCSEs (cannot recall the exact numbers and it does not matter anyway).

But wait! The reporter goes on to say this increase does not include English or Maths and when those subjects are included, the increase is not quite as dramatic. So English and Maths are unimportant subjects are they ? Or perhaps the story does not come across as so interesting if the real increase is given.

So this reporter has stretched the truth (i.e. lied) by reporting a meaningless statistic that sounds good rather than a proper set of figures which would still sound good to those who do not have unrealistic expectations.

Why does the media do this ? Well obviously to make things sound better than the really are or more usually worse than they usually are. That is fair enough on an entertainment show, but surely news should present the facts and not try to stretch the truth.

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