A headline that has been making rounds on the internet claims that almost half of children born in the United States live near poverty. This statement, however, is misleading and is, in essence, a tautology that gets its shocking figure by stretching the definition of words such as “near” and “almost” to their breaking point.
The largest problem with the headline is that it defines near poverty as “Families with earnings less than twice the poverty threshold are considered low income and include poor families” which is stretching the term near beyond the breaking point. Earning twice as much the poverty line isn’t putting you near poverty the line but instead in the working class. It’s quite misleading to claim that 43% of children are born near the poverty line by defining near as twice
To Indicate how misleading the headline if I flip the headline around, it turns into “Children being born in the united states today stand a 57% chance of being born into a middle class or richer household” which gives one the opposite image that first headline conjured up while still using the same data. This headline is just as misleading as the first one and gives a far too rosy view on the situation but it illustrates the problems with stretching words to their breaking point.
This has become an alarming trend as the media continues to use bad data analysis to create shocking headlines that get clicks but don’t inform.This has become a disturbing trend since the rise of the internet killed traditional print journalism and slashed revenue ten-fold.There are legitimate problems with child poverty in the United States but click-bait news such as this is only going to discredit those in favour of taking action. The growing disconnect between our world and the one that the media projects is disturbing and needs to be addressed immediately unless we wish for populists like Trump to continue being elected