Saturday, September 02, 2006

Lies, Damn Lies, and...

This is more of a rant than a substantive post, but I want to record it somewhere so I can retrieve it again. If you want a good example of a journalist chopping up a study to fit a political agenda, the Dong-A has a doozy today.

It concerns the amount spent on medicine, note the second and third 'graphs:

Jung-gu in Daegu spent on medicine the most in the country  an average of 947,400 won per person annually. The reason seems that the district has as many as 123 pharmacies with just a population of 80,000. 

In Seoul, Jongno-gu ranked first (663,100 won), followed by Jung-gu (440,200). Gangnam-gu came in third (272,400) and Yeongdeungpo (254,200) and Dongdaemun (232,200) followed it. The four districts except Gangnam are thought to put much money into pharmaceuticals because they have many large pharmacies and commercial complexes.

So one looks at this an concludes this is not consumer spending on medicine but wholesale spending on medicine. However how the hell from this do they get the headline and first sentence:

Study: Wealthy Spend More on Medicine 
Statistics showed that the rich spend more on medicine.

There is no linkage between income and spending mentioned in the entire article. No one was polled as to their income and spending. All on can point to is a rather weak link between real estate prices in certain wards ("gu's") and their spending. However even that is pointless given the fact the author of the "study" immediately writes off some of the priciest real estate in Seoul since they have "many large pharmacies and commercial complexes". Further this assumption implies another all other districts in Seoul do not have "many large pharmacies and commercial complexes".  Finaly all "gu's" are not uniform as the assumption also implies. I remember reading somewhere that Kangnam-gu, home to some of the most expensive real estate in Korea, still has shanty towns on its fringe. 



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