UnNews:Study shows news stories which cite studies are least informative

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28 June 2011

Scientist

Obligatory stock photos of something being studied under a microscope may mislead more than they inform.

MOOREHEAD, IndianaMoorehead Community College has finally concluded, after twenty years of studying the effectiveness of studies, that news stories which cite studies are less informative and often more misleading than those which do not. This is all contrary to years of conventional wisdom which held that studies were an important part of making a piece of information sound true and credible without having to explain anything.

According to researchers at Moorehead, most studies are taken out of context. For an example, look no further than the most recent edition of Time Magazine in which an article erroneously cited a University of West Philadelphia study on botfly circumcision as being evidence of Sarah Palin’s electability. “A study can prove anything, such as that 100% of divorces begin with marriage or that I just saved 15% on my car insurance by switching to Gecko,” explains research director Dom Topp. “News stories summarize years of research and data into a few minutes of information. Of course they’re going to get it wrong.”

The study, which was released the day after yesterday, has been criticized by many for making too much sense. Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly remarked on his radio show, “Fox News polls show that Fox News viewers are the most educated, informed, and sexually desirable TV viewers, and Fox regularly uses studies in news reports. Dr. Topp can leave this country if he doesn’t like it.”

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