Tuesday, 19 August 2014

News media and rail fares

The way you present facts affects peoples interpretations of the news.  Take the news that rail fares are rising.  Every year the news media loves this piece of news because it enables them to manipulate the way people feel about a piece of news.  season tickets are rising by 3.5 %.  Not good news we know but with investment and the lack of  subsidy from the government it's not that surprising.  Those who use the railways pay for them.  Now let's look at this news a different way.  From some simple research it shows that one of the most expensive tickets is from Dover Priory to London at £5012 a year. This is a journey of 76 miles.  That means 2 journeys a day for 5 days a week.  Simple maths brings this out at less than £10 a journey.  The BBC gave a season ticket example at £4000 a year which works out at less that £8 a journey.  Where I live a bus journey of 3 miles costs £5 a journey.  Season tickets seem good value to me. As usual the media presents the facts in such a way that make people simply look at the big figures for impact and not clarity.  Start doing your job properly news media and inform clearly what the situation is.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Privacy and the press

Who gave permission for the press to hire a helicopter and a long lens to peer into Cliff Richard's appartment?  When will this low life come to their senses and accept they are doing themselves no favours by infringing peoples privacy.  Lets all go and stick long lenses into their front rooms and see how they like it.  As for the police working with the press.  Long live Levison.  The Police and the Police Federation have a lot to answer for.  They are still refusing to cooperate about what happened at Downing Street and Andrew Mitchell. 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Media reporting on Scientific research

The number of times the media latches on to some spurious PHD research by a student who couldn't think of anything else to write and then puts it up as factual knowledge that we should all jump to (or at least those who are not so sceptical of the media do)  Take for instance the MMR vaccine scare where thousands of parents lept at this non proven research that stated that the MMR vaccine causees autism.  Now we have many more cases of Measles than we should have.  But I digress.  The latest thing is that a lack of Vitamin D has shown that people are more suceptable to Dementia,  I've listened to all the reports and not one has asked any searching questions of the  Professor who has published this.  Just taken the whole thing as fact. Let me ask a question.  How rigorous was this research?  How do we get Vitamin D?  Well most of us through sunlight and some through oily fish.  But mainly through sunlight.  Dementia is generally an illness of  the elderly.   One of the issues we have is that the elderly are often lonely and don't meet with people to the same extent as the rest of us. They don't go out much.  In other workds elderly patients may well have less Vit D. But couldnt the Demetia be due to the the fact that they are lonely?  They don't have meanigful conversation?  Their brains are not being made to stay active. My conclusion is therefore different.
Loneliness could be one of the causes of Dementia.  Loneliness also causes a lack of Vit D but is not necessarily a cause of Dementia.
Not one member of the News Media has questioned this academic about the rigour of the research.  Lets just put out a statement as if its fact is their answer.  I want News and Fact backed up by rigorous reporting.  We don't get either.