Monday, 7 November 2005

Gloomocracy IV

A friend pointed me at a particularly egregious example of gloom-centric reporting.

Paragraph two gives an initial summary of the study, saying it "showed more mistakes happened in the care of New Zealanders than were made in German or British health services". Paragraph three follows with more bad news. Some other bad-news anecdotes follow.

Finally in paragraph eight we hear more about the study. It turns out that the study covered six countries: the above three plus the USA, Canada and Australia. Indeed, the NZ error rate was lower than in the USA, Canada and Australia. Then we're also told that NZ, along with Australia, Germany and Britain, had easier access to doctors than in the USA and Canada.

This is a classic example of picking out the negative details and writing a story around them. Well done, Eleanor Wilson, our dour citizens silently acknowledge you.


  1. I absolutely agree with you on this one. The level of distortion of data in some news articles makes you wonder what kind of agenda journalists bring with them.

  2. There's a small error in your page:
    silently acknowledge you. </div></p>
    It should be </p></div> to be well-formed XHTML.
    Besides, in Firefox-1.5rc1 (running on a Debian) the border on top of the following p.posted element runs over the calendar on the right. When you hover the right calendar (or the right "column") the border's width is reduced to match the width of the content of DIV, but when you hover the left part of the page it returns to its original width. (Is this a Firefox Bug?)