Spam Journalism: The spurious use of sensational headlines to add spice to an otherwise pointless article.
There is never any lack of sex-related spam:
“If your partner supports National, has a PC, drinks Coke, eats meat, has a tattoo, smokes and is a Christian, be warned – they could be a cheater.
“Figures collected from the infidelity website AshleyMadison.com have profiled the New Zealanders most likely to sign up.
“They are most likely to be a Christian (58.7 per cent), support the National Party (33.3 per cent) and have had two extramarital affairs (13.6 per cent).”
I thought initially I was being too hard on the journalist who presumably was just writing a tongue-in-cheek spoof until the Herald produced a follow up article with a interview with the sites founder, Noel Biderman, who produces wisdom like this:
“Even in countries today, where adultery is punishable by death – there are still documented cases of it and that’s because it’s a biological drive.”
Well, yes. Its called the sex drive, not the adultery drive but let’s not spoil the fantasy that infidelity is now some sort of basic need. Sites like Biderman’s might try to dress up their intentions in risque apparel but they are still just the same as the adult dating sites that cluster around the edges of many sites on the internet. And that is precisely why none of the “data” from the site can be relied upon and why any conclusions drawn from that “data” are meaningless. It is not data, it is merely what people have said about themselves on a dating site. And as we all know – people lie.
Not only that but the journalist in question does not understand even basic statistics. 46% of people are National voters according to the only reliable poll, the election. Therefore if only 33.3% of people on the site are National voters the only conclusion you could draw (if you thought the “data” was reliable) is that National voters are less likely to be unfaithful. Similarly, the percentage of professed “Christians” on the site is similar to the percentage in the last census. Therefore Christianity is not predictive of infidelity. Of course the chances of 59% of people on a site dedicated to infidelity actually being practicing Christians is pretty low. But that’s another story.