1. Most journalists are "change-the-worlders" of the collectivist, "government should do more to…" sort.

2. Too many journalists were liberal arts students and are deathly afraid of math…any sort of math, even the common-sense kind.

3. Too many journalists regard their role as writing down the "he said-she said" rather than as working to find the facts.

John Bollinger writes: 

The AG's report on Ferguson is so rife with errors in the usage of statistics that it could serve as the course material for a "Mistakes Not to Make in Stats" course or a second edition of Huff's "How to Lie with Statistics". The report features many of the errors commonly seen in analyzing markets. For example, it appears no attempt was made to find the actual distributions to compare discovered distributions to and in no case does it seem that the negative hypothesis was formulated or tested. The interesting thing is that no one seems to have noticed/ objected. The media just picked up the report and ran with it, rather than dowsing it with a dose of critical analysis and skepticism; just as few notice/ object to poor usage of stats in market analysis and run with them. Since a lot of this is common sense rather than math, one wonders why.

anonymous writes: 

"One wonders why": The reasons are identical, I think.

Facts are made to fit a particular agenda. An attempt at applying objective truth of the kind that puts a satellite in orbit or makes the technology in an iPhone function never enters into the equation. That is the difference between politics and ideology and an actual, legitimate applied science– unless the science being applied is willful deception, which is realistically what is actually going on. 


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