Here’s a headline from last Thursday’s Metro:
“Toronto’s 1 per cent are about 100,000 times wealthier than us: study…”
Hey, we don’t have room to write whatever Wikipedia says about individual income on the back of a napkin, so we will assume “us” means families.
So Let’s Think About Metro’s Headline:
One percent of the population of Toronto is about 26,000 people.
According to a study cited in a report by Metro reporter, May Warren, 26,000 people are 100,000 times wealthier than “us.”
Free Math Tip
The article is talking about billionaires, of which the article acknowledges Toronto has eight. Eight billionaires would be one percent of the population of a city with 800 people. Which would be useful if you were counting billionaires in Vatican City.
This is all explained in the study hyperlinked to the article! The study is using the term “one-percenter” to describe billionaires, not actual people who represent one percent of any group.
However to help the reporter, we have:
Three Sarcastic Ways For The Reporter To Save Face
- We did some quick back-of-the-napkin research – and suggest she get one of these 26,000 one-percenters walking around Toronto with maybe $75,000,000,000 to spare a few napkins. Because a minute spent on a napkin may have lead to better research.
- Clarify that “us” means newsrooms of reporters working for free, and then correct headline to say that “one percenters make infinity times more than us.” Then, like John Oliver last night, correctly blame people for not paying for news, resulting in lower media quality.
- If you use the word “study” as a source in your headline, “study” that “study.” Because other “news” organizations like Yahoo Finance may cite your “news” story, compounding a lack of understanding of what was actually studied.