Misleading tripe from the Grauniad

How about this for misleading tripe from the Grauniad:


Yup, according to them the reactor has killed 4277 people. Or at least, that is what it looks like. Of course, you could also argue that they are trying to claim that the reactors have made the Nikkei go up 5.68%, but no-one would believe that.

Incidentally, the NYT has some good disaster porn.

[Updates: for a non-panic-stricken view of Tokyo, JEB is worth reading. For some quiet discussion of nuclear power, Brian has the good taste to ref me, and to remind us of some discussions from 2005. Meanwhile, the Japanese appear to be reduced to doing apparently random things and the Germans are busy proving that they can be prone to panic too (though now I look closer at that story I see it suffers from the usual problem of lying-by-tense in the headline: the headline says "has" shut down, the text says "will be" -W]

More like this

Context: there are currently three rotating headlines in that box - that one about the confirmed dead and the other two about Fukushima.

[You're happy with a 1/3 risk of receiving misleading tripe? -W]

By Holly Stick (not verified) on 16 Mar 2011 #permalink

I suspect whoever set up the page was just parking headlines with numbers in the same place. Yes, it's misleading, but probably due to incompetence instead of malice.

[Probably. Or, more likely, the two are so mixed up in their minds that they haven't even realised there is any problem -W]

By Holly Stick (not verified) on 16 Mar 2011 #permalink

What's misleading?

The lower panel has rotating info panels. One needs to be pretty moronic, or engaging in contrived indignation, not to understand that the # of dead panel refers to total confirmed dead in Japan. And the headline does state quite clearly "Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami".

Tripe is delicious btw, and we really don't see enough of it these days....

I cannot help noticing that the headline of the page is "Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami aftermath - live updates" (Current, obviously "aftermath" has been added since your screen shot).

I also notice from the same page further down (6:00 pm update):

"⢠Tens of thousands of people are still missing since Friday's earthquake and tsunami. Around 850,000 households in the north of the country are still without power in near-freezing weather conditions, and water supplies are disrupted in the worst hit areas. The official death toll has reached 4,000 but the total number of dead is expected to exceed 10,000."

And from the first update of the page (1:40 pm):

⢠The country faces an increasingly desperate humanitarian crisis caused by the direct effects of Friday's huge earthquake and resultant tsunami, one made worse by freezing weather.
The official death toll has now hit 4,255 deaths, with 8,194 people registered as unaccounted for. Survivors, many of them homeless, are struggling with a wave of cold weather forecast to last well into this week, with night time temperatures dipping to -5C in some places.

So, while granting that you could be confused if you ignored the headline, and read none of the updates - but your drawing a very long bow to suggest any such confusion would be the Gaurdian's fault. Particularly considering the fact that you would have had to have had your head in the sand for the last few days to not know about the Tsunami and its consequences.

Additional to my preceding comment, from the preceding day:

"5.15am (2.15pm JST): A quick update on casualties from the earthquake and tsunami: the national police agency is saying that 3,676 deaths are confirmed and 7,845 people are registered as unaccounted for. But Japanese media have pointed out that many bodies have been found but not identified. The Guardian's Jonathan Watts has reported from Ishinomaki on how authorities are struggling to deal with the dead and are now contemplating mass burials."

Well let's see, the other two headlines are the size of the no fly zone around one of the plants, and the size of the exclusion zone around the plant. Rotating the death total with that and the title I agree creates the impression that it is all due to the nuclear disaster.

By Nicolas Nierenberg (not verified) on 16 Mar 2011 #permalink

I was watching CBC Newsworld yesterday, and I think I heard Carole MacNeil (newsreader) say that a great number of people were dead in the nuclear accident.

I knew that was wrong, but I put in down to a mindless slip on her part (saying what was on her mind (nuclear), when she meant to say earthquake or tsunami). But perhaps she, or someone writing her copy, had mistakenly interpreted the Guardian headlines?

It's an interesting error to make. A nuclear disaster like this is horrible, of course. But a lot of people are very unlikely to die, at this juncture, if I interpret the real news correctly. A lot of territory could potentially be made useless to live on, depending on how all this plays out (the containment structures are cracked, and the spent fuel ponds a large unknown variable). But people believe, wrongly, that horrible nuclear accidents will normally cause enormous numbers of deaths.

Nah, just a cock-up - whoever threw that graphic together just didn't notice how it could be misinterpreted (i didn't till you pointed it out). The liveblog has repeatedly and explicitly stressed that it has been the tsunami and quake that have caused the humanitarian disaster and that this far outweighs the nuclear crisis in impact.

[Well, yes, it is unthinking of them. But what were they thinking, when they weren't thinking? Presumably: we need a pretty graphic, this is infotainment not actual info, so what-the-hell? -W]

Still can't get to this site from work. I have passed my IP on to ScienceBlogs with no response or effect. A friend has let me to post from their browser. Sorry but you have lost me and who knows how many other readers.

[Thanks for the comment. Yes, I too have finally realised that this is IP-based and not time dependant. Just this morning I sent a this-is-serious email in to The Mgt; I hope they will Do Something -W]

I clicked on the link to the Guardian before seeing your quote from it. The result was that I misunderstood your headline but not the Guardian's which I read without seeing a problem. I was puzzled rather than disgusted , returned to your page, and determined that this was an unintended example of self reference. (Perhaps "tripe about the Guardian?").

[You need to read what I wrote. There is nothing wrong with the Grauniad's headline, nor did I say there was -W]

By Deconvoluter (not verified) on 17 Mar 2011 #permalink

The problem does not exist in the headlines, but just in the "rotating info panels" (in terms of Chris).

The characters of the text "Confirmed dead throughout Japan" should have the same size as "Fukushima reactor status". And there should be a clear break (space in the background color, presumably white) between these two sub-panels.

It may interest you to know that the latest blog at the Guardian about the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear/crisis not longer has the animated banner. A shame really, it was a useful quick update on the state of play in each individual reactor building.