I give up — reporters will never get the whole math thing: I
keep trying to retire from my continuous ranting about how ridiculous it is when a
reporter sees one set of numbers (online advertising reaches a gazillion
dollars) and suggests that such a statistic has any relevance to TV upfront spending or
consumer magazine ad sales. I know that nothing I say will convince
reporters that regression analysis is something they should understand before, hmm, let me make this simple, comparing apples to broccoli.
Please, if you’re a reporter who may ever be tempted to compare one set
of numbers to another set of numbers and actually think you’re coming
up with something that is meaningful, pick up a copy of the new book,
Freakonomics. It is written in language even you can understand. It
will make you realize that something you think is so statistically
obvioius will actually make you sound clueless when you include it
in a story.