Bad Math, False Comparisons and Stupid Journalists' Tricks

If David Letterman introduces a "Stupid Journalists' Tricks" shtick to alternate with "Stupid Pet Tricks" on his late night television show, he won't lack material. From just the past few weeks, these howlers:* Big headlines that homicide rates in the United States continued an historic decline. Reporters of this news gave no clue that they recognized a fundamental cause: Dramatic improvements in trauma care, including breakthroughs in medical technology. These  mean that more Americans now survive what previously would have been deadly attacks. British prison psychiatrist-turned-writer, Theodore Dalrymple, has pointed out that after the United Kingdom abolished capital punishment in 1965, its homicide rate doubled. But better medicine has reduced fatalities from violence by up to four-fifths. So Britain's rate of what previously would have been homicidal mayhem has jumped as much as 10 times. What about here in the States? Journalists didn't check.  * More false...(Read Full Post)