Statistical nightmare

On BBC Breakfast News just now they were talking about a new report on mental health provision. The presenter, Suzannah Reid, went through a number of “damning” statistics in an incredulous manner. Included in the list was this gem: “46% of health trusts are below average performance.”

Hmmm….

So, 4% more health trusts are at or above average performance than would be expected then, if the distribution was normal.. sounds like a positive rather than a negative to me. (Though there would have to be a few *very* low scores to skew the average.)

Why can’t journalists understand the very simplest statistics?

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