Oh noes! Teh Internets makes u gulible

by John Q on September 27, 2009

Another “Internets makes you stupid story” from the Brisbane Courier-Mail (irony detector overload alert !!).

The original source is something called the Levitt Institute and the Courier-Mail story is a pretty fair summary of the Levitt Institute report, which is here (PDF). I’ll leave the deconstruction as an exercise for readers, with a bonus mark for the question “Which basic concept of classical hypothesis testing is ignored in this study of ‘ability to detect erroneous information'”

Here’s a post with a couple of links arguing the opposite.

UpdateSucked in! It turns out the whole thing is in fact a hoax by Andrew Denton’s new show.. Sad to say, with the irony detector already blown, it’s hard to tell the difference between genuine and fake stupid.



Down and Out of Sài Gòn 09.28.09 at 4:19 am

If anyone does not get John’s “irony detector overload alert”, read what one former sub-editor of the Courier Mail said about the rag:

The Courier-Mail is a very rightwing paper and it’s what you could call a “knocking” paper. It just relentlessly bashes everything and everybody. It appeals to the miserable middle classes, who spend their entire lives worried about being robbed, mostly by people at the margins: blacks, teens, foreigners. It’s not fond of the government (which is currently formed by the centre-right Labor party at both national and state level) and it spends a lot of its time inventing scandals to be outraged about.

Not that the politicians here aren’t corrupt, but the Mail insists on endlessly blathering about minor rorts that no one in their right mind would care about (much like the “expenses scandal” in the UK, which was just a way to express public rage at politicians). Yesterday’s front-page story, I shit you not, was about coppers using a police van to go to a drinks party, and running nude through a suburban street — presumably as some kind of weird pig ritual, I don’t know (at least it made a change from endless stories about rugby league). No one sane could read the Courier-Mail without going “don’t give a fuck about that” on every page…

The columnists are the worst of it though. The humourists are relentlessly unfunny and the wowsers moralise sternly while considering facts as bothersome, and as useful, as mosquitoes.

I say “former”, because the author was later sacked for his pains.


Down and Out of Sài Gòn 09.28.09 at 4:22 am

The “Not that the politicians…” and “The columnists…” paragraphs are meant to be blockquoted.


nickhayw 09.28.09 at 5:19 am

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney edition – owned by the same folk that own the Courier-Mail) had some similar tripe splashed all over page 10? 12? on the weekend. A ‘survey’ they conducted on all of nine people concluded that Australians Know More About Pop Culture Than Politics And Are Therefore In A State of Moral Decline. UGH.

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