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Bad Numbers Make For Killer Headlines – And Dodgy News

Last week, The Guardian informed us the Eurozone Crisis will Cost World’s Poorest Countries US$238bn. Really? Not US$237 billion or US$239 billion? Perhaps it was just a wonky headline, and the article would be more nuanced. But no: the article soberly reported that the current crisis will cost US$238 billion – an impossible level of certainty for an economic forecast!

Does accuracy or inaccuracy of this sort really matter? Of course it does. Numbers often drive the news cycle, with consequences as far-reaching, or far-fetched, as the claims they seem to support.

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