Confusing actuarial lies for statistics

LYING WITH STATISTICS. It’s a worn truism, but what do you do when the public’s mathematical literacy ebbs ever lower? Lie without statistics. Give new meaning to mean, median and average. Use false statistics to reinforce the new lie. Here are a couple ugly examples.

ISAF Air Raid on Nawabad
Afghans are up in arms about a recent US air raid in Herat Province which they say claimed more than 90 lives, the majority of which were children. US spokesmen claim the death toll was not ninety, but five, er, eight. A disparity which they explain could be complicated by the rubble from the bombs.

US puppet Hamid Karzai is standing by the Nawabad villagers, likewise is the UN. So it’s NATO and the US versus Afghanistan and the UN, as to whether the NATO International Security Assistance Force air raid should be investigated so that Karzai might be able to assure his people that US warplanes will be more careful next time.

The US press have been phrasing their interviews like mediators hoping to find a middle ground figure to reconcile the vastly disparate casualty record. But is that how casualties of war are accounted for? Can you imagine OJ refuting his ex-wife’s demise? Would a criminal court consider that an agreeable fraction of Nicole Simpson was murdered that night?

LA law enforcement found two bodies on the front steps of Nicole’s Brentwood residence. Just as tangibly, survivors on the ground in Afghanistan were able to count their missing. Journalists, UN workers, and Afghan authorities on our payroll have had access to the bodies, graves and witnesses.

American military personnel admit they may not know the full extent of the casualties, conceding that some might have been buried in the stony debris. Consider how horribly disingenuous is this admission.

We’ve all seen the leaked aerial gun-sight video footage on which we know the airmen can see every heat-emiting body. The bombers and their command-center triggermen on land can see little white bodies running around before they are hit, and then the faint gray pieces of human beings as the warmth leaves their ex-lives. Thus, American soldiers are lying, to whatever degree it makes a difference. Regardless, is the murder of civilians any place to equivocate with median approximations?

Bisphenol A
Here’s another example in pharmaceutical news. Studies have been released to show that the chemical Bisphenol A is a danger to humans. Well, news presenters well tied to the chem-agra-pharma industry are careful to note that some of the scientific results are inconclusive. So we have, on one side, harmful, and on the other, uncertain, championed by the FDA. The corporate media advises us that the conclusion probably lies somewhere in the middle. Oh? It’s a toss up, is it?

Heads and tails is a toss up. Heads –and can’t read the face of the coin exactly– is heads. Bisphenol A harms human brain activity, or at best, half-harms it. We’re muddied or partially muddied. It takes evidence to the contrary to muddle a middle.

The corporate media mantra of offering us two-sided analysis is serving well to temper findings which point at wrongdoers. Global warming becomes global luke-warming, becomes: leave the knob set on a harmless simmer.

I swing the other way. The media are all liars. Every last motherfucking one. From right to left, the mean average is a liar. If that stat is irrefutable, tell me, am I lying?

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