“The Spectator’s remarkable subscriptions growth over the last 5 years is bucking the trend in a declining industry. Try a month for free today and find out why. You might also be our 100,000th subscriber and win a prize worth £5,000” he declared yesterday. The pause before ridicule came raining down in his general direction was all too brief.
The finest misinformation money can buy
Accompanying Brillo’s Tweet were four graphs, purporting to show how well the Speccy was doing against The Economist, The Week, and Private Eye. The problem with this exposition was not merely a failure to compare like with like - no-one buys the Economist hoping to catch the gratuitous bigotry of Rod “a smile, a song, and a four-pack of Stella” Liddle, Doug Murray The K or Taki Takalotofcokeupthenos - but the sleight of hand.
All the graphs had a different Y-axis origin - 40,000 for the Speccy, 140,000 for The Economist, 130,000 for The Week and 220,000 for Private Eye - as well as a different Y-axis range, and even, for the Eye, a different increment (5,000 versus 10,000 for the rest). So Hussein Kesvani had a question. “Hey Andrew, why does the Spectator's Y axis only go up to 100,000 while the others go to 200,000 + ? Feels a bit like bad maths”.
Josh Scully showed all four sets of figures graphed correctly - Y-axis starting at zero - and together. The Speccy took its rightful place - last. He did not spare Brillo’s blushes: “Proper plotting paints a more accurate picture. But we're used to sad old men misrepresenting facts at this point”. OUCH! Then there was the small matter of the Speccy’s audience.
Stuart Clarke-Frisby put that point directly. “Shoddy visualisations aside, wouldn’t you agree that the total addressable market for racist dog-whistling is much smaller than those of your competitors, and so your maximum potential subscriber count is likely much smaller than for the publications you listed?” And another OUCH!
All of which meant it was no surprise when the Tweeter known as the Spiller Of Tea asked the obvious question. "Is this the kind of honest reporting we can expect from GB News?” With a CV that includes AIDS denial, commissioning David Irving, managing to “lose” Mordechai Vanunu, climate change denial, and gratuitously defaming Carmen Proetta to the benefit of his then heroine Mrs T., it’s a question that needs asking.
But before it gets answered, there is always time for a little levity, and the Private Eye magazine Twitter feed was soon along to provide it, mocking Brillo’s bad presentation with “It is important when comparing statistics to use the same range on each Y-axis, otherwise you are just putting two things next to each other that look silly”.
And thus the ideal opportunity to once more post That Photo. The one that Brillo says he doesn’t hate to see published. Except he does. Let the GB News piss-taking begin.
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