(Roughly) Daily

“The most inaccurate headline ever”?…

An article published in The Telegraph over a month ago remains on The Telegraph website with a headline that is so spectacularly incorrect that the BBC has reported that the article may set “a new record for the most inaccurate headline ever”.[*] According to The Telegraph headline there are “just 100 cod left in the North Sea”. Our first clue that this may be a case of wilful exaggeration lies in the subheading, which notes that The Telegraph are in fact attempting to report the number of adult cod, but as Tom Webb over at the SciLogs blog first pointed out this estimate is still “out by a cool factor of 210,000”. The Telegraph now admits (in a post script unapologetically added at the end of the article) that there are in fact over 21 million adult cod in the North Sea. It seems however; this fact is not significant enough to make The Telegraph change their headline – this in spite of the BBC reporting that a correct headline would have been “Just 436,900,000 cod left in the North Sea”, only about half a billion off from The Telegraph’s original estimate. The Sunday Times, The Atlantic Wire and of course the Daily Mail all also parroted the Telegraph’s claim, fine evidence that articles such as this, that are left to fester online result in the ongoing perpetuation of misinformation…

From Neurobonkers, a new addition to your correspondent’s blogroll that focuses “on issues of the mind, scientific controversies, and journalistic misrepresentation of science.”

* One infers that the British press never before had a “Dewey Defeats Truman!” moment?…


As we stock up on grains of salt, we might recall that it was on this date in 1811 that Sense and Sensibility, “by A Lady,” was published. For a variety of reasons– including the penetrating accuracy of her observations– that “Lady,” Jane Austen, went to great pains to hide her identity.


Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 30, 2012 at 1:01 am

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