UNH Goes For Lurid Sensationalism

[Welcome Granite Grok readers, and thanks to Doug for the link. If you're not a regular, please feel free to look around.]

I think this headline from the University Near Here's website is pretty attention-grabbing:

New Research Finds Nearly Three Quarters of NH Men Are Victims of Sexual or Physical Violence
Wow! (The headline also, as I type, appears on UNH's front web page.)

But read the article underneath, or the (PDF) report. It turns out that, in a survey, 71% of men "reported experiencing a physical assault" at least once in their entire lifetime. And "physical assult" includes incidents where the perpetrator "threw something" or "shoved" or "pulled hair".

In comparison, the survey reported that men reported being on the receiving end of at least one sexual assault in their life at 4.9%. Which is, of course, bad. But 4.9% is pretty far away from three-quarters.

Nobody likes assault of any kind, but the headline is misleading, luridly misrepresenting reality. Does it really make sense to combine hair-pulling with sexual assault just so you can report an inflated scary statistic? They could have just as well have said:

New Research Finds Nearly Three Quarters of NH Men Are Victims of Alien Abduction, Sexual or Physical Violence
Equally true! And even more sensational!

The report comes out under the imprimatur of the "New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence" (NHCADSV.org) Of course, one of the recommendations of the report is—more money going to organizations like the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. Funny how that works.

Last Modified 2009-02-12 6:35 PM EST

URLs du Jour


  • P. J. O'Rourke content espied at the Financial Times:
    The free market is dead. It was killed by the Bolshevik Revolution, fascist dirigisme, Keynesianism, the Great Depression, the second world war economic controls, the Labour party victory of 1945, Keynesianism again, the Arab oil embargo, Anthony Giddens's "third way" and the current financial crisis. The free market has died at least 10 times in the past century. And whenever the market expires people want to know what Adam Smith would say. It is a moment of, "Hello, God, how's my atheism going?"
    Free registration required, which is a pretty good deal.

  • Iowahawk brings you "Numbers in the News", including an encouraging report of the largest number found, the "stimulus":
    "The number itself is incomprehensible by human minds, and can only be theoretically understood in a fractional parallel universe which we refer to as the DC dimension," said Brossard. "The best way to understand a stimulus is to imagine a dollar sign followed by a packed string of hexidecimal nanodigits, wound into a triple helix, woven into a dodecahedron, and stacked on top of one another. Now imagine you were a black hole on the far edge of the universe, trying to escape the stimulus at 30 times the speed of light. The stimulus would still catch up to you and ram your black hole with such furious, repeated force that it would cause your entire reality itself to collapse."
    I've independently verified their calculations with my mad math skillz, and if anything, they're understating the case.

  • I found it impossible not to click on this headline, how about you?: Ravenous Clock Runs Backward, Scares Children. Not just children, I bet.