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Fake News: Using & Misusing Statistics

This guide will show you how to evaluate news sources for credibility and accuracy.

Dubious Statistics

Depending on how statistics are presented,

they can appear believable ... or not!


“‘USA Today has come out with a new survey − − apparently, three out of every four people make up seventy-five percent of the population.’”  DAVID LETTERMAN

Evans, Harold.  Do I Make Myself Clear? Why Writing Well Matters.  Little, Brown and Company, 2017, p.158.

Beware of Spurious Correlations

Sometimes statistical findings are linked so that it appears that two separate trends are related. Keep an eye out for this misleading technique, known as 'spurious correlation.'

Check out this example from the site FiveThirtyEight. The blog Spurious Correlations, as the name suggests is full of even more examples.

Further Reading

Look Out for Dubious Statistics