CMN THIRD ASSIGNMENT
According to my experiences from last week’s assignment, I started with reading the articles with a normal regard so that the articles seemed written with a serious language supported by many numerical evidences. Afterwards as I read them carefully, I figured out many unclear statements and contradictory numerical values.
I would like to start with the article titled “The two-baby family makes a comeback” which is published on 14 July 2011, in the newspaper called Daily Mail. It is obvious that this article contains a lot of various numerical values in order to support their ideas but it also has many inconsistencies. I will talk about these by categorizing them in two groups.
To begin with, the article says that “mothers now have an average of precisely 2.0 children”. It means that the number of mothers is double of the children. As the article continues, it isn’t mentioned in some parts of the England, a mother may choose to have more children than a woman in the city (high educated, working etc.), so that this average isn’t always true for everyone. The socio-economic status of the parents has a huge impact on deciding how many children they want to have.
Also, the article claims in the title ‘’two-baby family makes a comeback’’. It also contains the numerical values of unmarried woman’s children which is half of the born rates. It seems that the article ignores the fact of children who were born outside marriage build the half of the total born-rate as it announces ‘’nuclear family is still to make a comeback’’. In contrast, this means that half of the mothers prefer not to be married and not to form a ‘’two-baby family’’, neither a ‘’nuclear family’’. It’s an amount which cannot be passed over and be generalized to support their argument.
Another inconsistency that we can see in the article is in manner of the immigration. It is said in the article that (%25) “a quarter of the births in England and Wales last year (2010) were to mothers who were themselves born abroad” and it is to support their claim which is “birthrates have been driven up by increase in the numbers of foreign-born women with above average fertility”. As it continues, the article says that immigrant women are “more likely to be of childbearing age than the population as a whole”. It doesn’t seem to be right since only 1 in 4 woman of the ‘whole population’ is immigrants and it isn’t reliable since not every woman with a suitable age for childbearing is immigrating to have children. Therefore, contrary as the article states, one of the main reasons for birth rate augmentation cannot be the effect of only immigrants.
In conclusion, this article is obviously written by an exact point of view which is clearly against childbearing out of marriage and immigration. Numerical values were used to somehow support these ideas, but with an attentive reading it is easy to see the numbers weren’t used correctly or compatibly.
Secondly, I will talk about the article titled ‘’How family meals can stop eating disorders’’, published in 14 July 2011, in the newspaper called Daily Mail. The first thing about the article is surely it seems to be short and to the point. However, it contains several numerical values and percentages which were used incompatibly.
First of all, the article declares two percentages; ‘’They were also 24 per cent more likely to… have healthy eating habits than those who didn’t share three meals with their families’’ and ‘’teens who eat at least five meals a week with their families are 35 per cent less likely to be ‘disordered eaters’’. These numerical statements don’t show the same percentage of how effective is eating one meal with family per week. First one declares it as %8 while the second one declares it as %7.
Another untrue statement is that the article talks about 17 studies on eating patterns and nutrition involving ‘almost’ 200.000 children and teenagers. It doesn’t clarify which age group (which is actually 2-17) was involved in the study and what did this study really pertained. The exact amount of children and teenager who were in the study was actually 182.000. The article ignores about 18.000 subjects which is a high number that couldn’t be unmentioned in order to reflect the true numerical value.
The last thing I would like to point out is how the article defines disordered eating. It is said in the article that ‘’smoking to keep a lid on weight’’ is also a sign of eating disorders. Actually, this action doesn’t define an eating disorder at all. The article is far from reflecting the real definition and causes of disordered eating. In addition, it isn’t even mentioned once eating excessive amounts of food, psychological effects of eating disorders, and unhealthy nutrition habits in schools or even in families.
To conclude, the article tries to fix the idea of eating with family is a great way to control children and teenagers. It tries to use the numerical facts and percentages as they are proof of this idea by reconstituting the data.
I really enjoyed reading the articles and doing the research on these topics. Since I really understood the methodology of how to detect false usage of numbers and how they were used to manipulate the reader’s ideas. I look forward to write more reports and get better at criticizing what I read in my personal life.
Sources for the first article:
Sources for the second article: