“Data Point” is a regular feature in The Hindu’s newspaper. As the name suggests, this section deals with data on a particular topic almost every day. At first glance of one such “Data Point” published on July 27th, 2022, it looked like there is a gloomy scenario in the country today.
The choice of the headline – “Consumer sentiment weaker in rural areas” tells us the situation is bad in rural areas. The colour Red also gets prominence, giving you the impression that the situation is not quite good. Until you read the details of each of the graphs. You are then left stunned by the innovative interpretation by Team Hindu to make things look gloomy when they are the exact opposite!
Let’s proceed to study 5 of these graphs.
70% of Urban and 55% of rural folks were able to “save substantially for their future needs“, last year. 70% of Urban and 55% rural – these numbers are simply phenomenal by any standards. For the past 2 years, we are simply bombarded with articles on how bad the handling of the economy has been. You look at the response to this graph and your mind immediately begins to wonder if these numbers would have been possible if the handling of the economy was bad.
A whopping 94% Urban and 88% of Rural people have said that their “current financial situation these days is better or about the same” compared to last year. Can you even begin to imagine the scale of this response? You look at the response to this graph – nearly 90% of those surveyed say their situation is actually better or the same – and your mind immediately begins to wonder if these numbers would have been possible if the handling of the economy was bad?
A whopping 90% Urban and 85% Rural folks are confident that they “will be able to systematically save, more or about the same as last year“. Not only have nearly 70% saved substantially last year (as seen in Graph#1), but nearly 90% of folks are confident of either saving better or the same as last year. Would this confidence have stemmed if the handling of the economy were bad?
We move on to Graph#5 because of the vagueness in the question of Graph#4 (which you can still see in the full graphic). Yet again, we see some positively astonishing numbers. The “ability to meet regular monthly expenses as compared to a year ago” has either improved or remained about the same for a whopping 84% Urban and 81% Rural folks! Would this have been really possible if the handling of the economy was bad in the last 2 years?
A whopping 96% of Urban and 94% of Rural folks are very confident that their situation will either be better or remain about the same one year from now. Would this confidence have stemmed if the handling of the economy were bad?
The scale of numbers across the various questions put forth very clearly gives out a very positive picture of the economy. It is a generally accepted colour code to use Red for bad data and yellow/orange for neutral data. The Hindu has surreptitiously chosen to use Red for neutral responses, coupled with a gloomy headline, to give an utterly false impression to the viewer/reader. Unfortunately for them, once the reader gets to the details, he/she can easily see through these machinations.