When bad data becomes good news

There are people who’ll spend tens of thousands of dollars to get a degree in public relations, often the art of getting your client into a news story.

A waste of money, indeed, as we note today on World Doughnut Day, the latest trivia sucking up time in the country’s newscasts today. There’s power in sending free junk food to newsrooms.

All you really have to do is invent one of these.

Take some data from Google, add a map, and voila! You’re in the news.

“This map of America’s most commonly misspelled words is highly disturbing,” Sports Illustrated declared on its website this week in elevating bad data.

Of course, Minnesotans took delight in noting that Wisconsin is the most commonly misspelled word in Wisconsin.

Does anybody really believe that? Then explain how Massachusetts isn’t that state’s most misspelled word but license is.

Even the New York Times, which never misses the opportunity to make fun of the Upper Midwest, acknowledged the map is of some questionable accuracy.

As usual, xkcd does a brilliant job of explaining why today.