Collecting and organizing various information is an essential part of modern life. The statistics presented in the form of multiple graphs and tables are compelling. People are used to trusting this data so much that organizations and states base their activities on it. More complete and well-structured information should help in making correct and effective decisions. However, statistics can often be misinterpreted or misused, which can ultimately have a significant impact on policy or decision-making.
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In many cases, statistics in politics are used to promote a particular point of view, which can often be found on television. An excellent example of such statistical manipulation would be the graph shown in 2012 by Fox News (Jilla, 2017). The image shows that the “real unemployment rate” increased by almost 7 percent from 2009 to 2012. The main reason for the occurrence of such numbers is incorrect counting. Fox News deliberately compares two different unemployment rates: for 2009, the standard unemployment rate is used, while the 2012 figure includes part-time workers, discouraged people, and other categories. Thus, according to the statistics comparing the same measures, it is noticeable that in February 2009, in the first month of Obama’s presidency, the unemployment rate was 8.2%, and in August 2012, it fell to 8.1% (Duffin, 2020). The image separately includes the percentage of unemployed government workers, which Fox emphasizes their special privileged position.
Apart from statistics, people are also used to trust television, which often promotes certain political views and trends. Misinterpretation and misuse of information are performed in many forms, including, as shown in the example, by providing false information by counting inadequate numbers. Unfortunately, in the modern world, information is used not only for organizing activities but also for lobbying certain groups’ interests, which leads to an impact on the process of making important decisions in society.
Duffin, E. (2020). Unemployment rate in the United States from 1990 to 2019. Statista. Web.
Jilla, R. (2017). What are good examples of misleading statistics? Quora. Web.