Tag Archives: starving children

Numbers that don’t add up

According to the Guardian newspaper (or more precisely Dr Frances Ryan opining therein)

“In 2018 Britain will be on the cusp of a new era of child poverty. As universal credit, “two-child limit” tax credits and child benefit freezes set in, the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts the next five years will see the number of children living in poverty soar to a staggering 5.2 million (or 37% of all children). That’s the highest percentage since modern records began.

It’s grim enough that a wealthy 21st-century nation has children diagnosed with rickets because they haven’t got enough to eat. But unless something is done this country will lose hard fought for gains: the IFS calculates that, as Conservative cuts set in, all the progress made over the past 20 years will be more than reversed”

However, the Guardian (in another article) states “On average, children are given a {phone} handset at the age of 11 but nearly one in 10 has a phone at less than half this age”, whilst according to the Daily Mail,

“… with 90 per cent of Brits aged 8-14 now owning a mobile phone. Nowadays, over half (52 per cent) of children under the age of 10 also have mobiles, with 10 being the average age that kids get their first phone

These numbers plainly don’t square, unless a large number of children have an iPhone 7 in one hand and the crust they just foraged from a dustbin in the other.

The issue is almost certainly with on the one hand questionable  definitions of poverty and on the other (in the case of phones) with what statisticians call ‘selection bias’. But the responsibility for determining this is left to the reader – the author sees no responsibility to do so in the determination to promote their subjective perspective.

The problem with reporting in most newspapers today is that objectivity, transparency and accuracy has been lost to conveying a message, inevitably spun to suit the biases of the author. Journalism is no longer about facts.