I was reading a blog post by Mark Easton – the BBC’s home editor – on crime statistics being pushed in different directions by different political parties in the run up to the election. In the post he just happened to mention that crime statistics being pushed by the Conservatives had inspired the Daily Mail to assert:
that “nearly two-thirds of Government press releases contain misleading or unsubstantiated claims”.
However, the document actually says that its findings do “not necessarily mean that the statistics were misleading or inaccurate”. According to one of the statisticians who produced the “damning report”, it is not damning in the least.
Professor Sheila Bird, who will be presenting the results at the Royal Statistical Society tomorrow, tells me that the findings are “not shocking at all but a statistical standard to aim for”.
Not surprisingly a quick visit to the Daily Mail website reveals the writer of this article is none other than James Slack, who has form for misrepresenting crime statistics.