#9 Bollocks Friday Press Releases
The Irrational World Blog 2011

World of Bollocks
I see a pattern every Friday a report statistics are released "monstering someone who is not the government, Energy Co, FTSE 100 directors. with "statistics" outraging the public, but which don't actually bare close analysis
- fortunately for the gov - people are ready to leave their desks and can't answer back until Monday, by which time the fake story has been burnt into peoples brains

Energy companies profit soar - media bollocks
"Energy companies' profit margins soar Britain’s big energy companies are making profit margins of £125 a year from every household in the UK, up from just £15 in June, according to Ofgem, the energy regulator." Telegraph

- Isn't outrageous that the energy companies profit soar by 800% ?

.. no it's out f#*king rageous the media are upto their old tricks again
1. parroting the press release uncritically
2. playing hard are fast with the tenses ... the impact wouldn't be much if they used tenses properly "an extrapolation of todays prices and costs if they stayed the same for 6 months could mean that the average profit per customer COULD be £125/year"

- the story is an example of too extreme to be true

- well the Ofgem guys are all set to be millionaires since they "know" that the enrgy companies profits this year will be £125 per customer

- Firing a minister 101 : first distract the media by releasing some outrageous statistics slagging energy companies by projecting way into an unpredictable future, then wait until the afternoon before resigning him.

- how to deal with a dodgy cabinet minister.
Wait until Friday then release some outrageous statistics slagging the energy companies by projecting todays charges and prices 8 months into the future. Then by the end of the day the media will engaged in a feeding frenzy.. then you can fire the defence minister with minimum fuss. Do your big honouring the military speech on Sunday ..have a lie in on Monday ..and by then the story might have died down.

- Apple, Google and Sky have created monopolies exploiting the public, but there is no outcry I see people are up in anger about the vast profits the competitive energy companies are projected to make (which they won't make anyway cos prices and costs will not stay the same )
...Yet people are adoring about other companies who construct monopolies and are happy to support the ridiculous profit margins like Apple, Google and Sky

49% directors payrise fake story
‎- Why do I have to waste so much time fact checking ? take today "top Bosses py rises by 49% on average" is all over the UK media. I know staight away it's not true. Phenomenon 1. "if it's too outrageous to be true", "UK media will report it anyway without question" .. and then we get the second Phenomenon 2 "people hear what they want to hear", most people want to believe everything is not their fault, it's someone elses. So they accept a simple view of the world that there is "us" hardworking workers and "them" lazy bosses so they blindly accept the figures and bang on for the next 24 hours.

- Firstly I know they are talking about a select group of only 100 people and then the first time I check the details I found the 49% comes from taking the "mean" not the median if 1 boss gets a 300% rise and the other 5 get 6 % the average 55%.. No you idiots you should be looking at the median. Explanation

- This time it doesn't come from journalists hype from from another Phenomenon 3 "UK media report straight from press releases". For some reason it was the intial press release by IDS that was distorting http://www.incomesdata.co.uk/news/press-releases/directors-pay-report-2011.pdf

- The point is the story isn't true
- It leads to the impression that director D1 got 49%, director D2 49%, D3 49%, D4 49%, D5 49% etc. but is that what happened ?
-1. 30 of the 100 weren't even in the same job last year.
-2. some booming mining co directors got 350% payrises so lumping their salaries together with people with lower salaries who got 5% payrises to get a mean % is ridiculous a more relevant average would have been the median ...that's maybe 16%
-3. FTSE the companies get bigger and bigger of course salaries go up

"too outrageous to be true", "but UK media will report it anyway without question"
- Is anyone as sceptical as me ? - We know if it's "too good to be true", "then it's not true"
- now we have this new rule

- 49% for top100 FTSE directors payrise when workers get 3% OUTRAGEOUS ..if it is true ..oops it isn't ?
- spectator
- but we had this last week "Energy companies massive profits rise " in the ridiculous OFGEM report projecting gas costs and prices 10 months into the future

- seems to me there is a UK media SPIN pattern : every Friday stastics are released "monstering" someone who is not the government

- surprised to see numberswatch hasn't drunk the Global warming Coolaid and jumped on the climate change bandwagon

- I can't believe that when that 49% payrise thing was reported #UKmedia just believed it .well they don't have any idea of basic statistics.

#bbcaq BBC Question Time what do you think of 49% payrise .No one said well it's not true !

Shocking cynical of IDS press release just used average to signify "mean" when the normal way is to use median : http://www.incomesdata.co.uk/news/press-releases/directors-pay-report-2011.pdf

The IoD should have answered back the 49% claim with their 2012 pay survey
- They did in 2011, but they haven't published one this year
- I am so used to things which seem black and white simple being full colour complex & Russian doll within a Russian Doll. I can rarely tell people what the absolute truth is, but I can spot when someone contradicts themselves or makes a statistical error ie. I can tell you what seems to be incorrect, but not what is correct. In this case you have a statement from the IoD thru a newspaper and they aren't reliable at quoting people correctly. the PR is here
Note 1. his talk is well away from the 49% claim and 2. that an 18th century plantation owner could have given themselves zero percent payrises year after year.

- Interesting ? No not really it doesn't tell me much; the only info is he didn't say "this years report says it's X%" but did say "But the current pace of increase in executive pay is unsustainable".

- In business it's common not to answer back with truth, but rather deal with public perceptions instead of saying "actually our trains are on time" you say "yes we are dealing with this"
- Note it's very much in the IOD interests to say "we are entering an era of austerity pay rises", cos they have the excuse to reduce worker pay (..and perhaps say "ah the the MD ... he's locked into a 10 year employment package we can't change his payrise)
- Not sustainable ? Of course patterns of statistical patterns don't go up and up for ever.. technological changes might fuel advance from $10m companies to $10Bn companies we have seen but it's unlikey in the next 15 years they will advance to £10trillion companies.

- And what is our context & perspective ? Maybe directors were not getting £3m incomes in 1960 , but as a percentage of company turnover are directors incomes higher today ? It would not surprise me if fine Victorian directors were paying themselves a higher markup. There is a perception that directors might be paying themselves say 2000 times average workers salary in industries where it was 200 times 10 years ago, but then when a company is technologically more efficient and jobs have been contracted out it will have far less employees for the same turnover. The problem with statistical comparisons is that you must compare "like with like".

- Last night on Radio 3 the banking expert Ruth Lea pointed out that a character in the new New film, Margin Call about the collapse of Lehman Brothers the character says "this whole jobs is BS I am out", then in the top floor office is told "well we could offer you £XXX" ..."ah well I could stay"

- Last Sunday in 5Live On The Money the founder of childrens charity Kidscape said "I'm not into banker bashing, they finance us, I'm more worried what they do with their salary than how much it is"

- I can understand why the Daily Mail just grabs the first interesting statistic off a press release ..cos getting to the truth is a damn sight more work.

Instead of detecting BS media is injecting BS
- So education should be targetted at journos

- There was no story this Friday but there was this
- ah that olympics cause 90% slump story is distract away from prior industry talk that APD Eco-tax is cause APD Eco-tax is cause

- next page about media

a Stew Green Opinion

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