July 10th, 2012
I like it when a story is plain and simple, with no twists and turns. Take, for example, this one from the Express:
WHAT A DIRTY LOT…SO MANY SKIP HYGIENE
MILLIONS don’t bother with basic personal hygiene because they are too busy or too lazy, a survey revealed yesterday.
Researchers found barely half of British adults always wash their hands with soap after visiting the toilet. And a quarter of workers claim to be too rushed to wash and dry their hands properly after nipping to the loo.
A morning shower is regularly skipped by 58 per cent of men, with a quarter admitting they would rather have the extra time in bed. One in three said they simply couldn’t be bothered.
And its partner from the Daily Mail:
We really ARE the great unwashed! Brits ‘too busy’ to wash their hands after using the loo – while over half of men skip their daily shower
Millions of Britons neglect a string of basic personal hygiene tasks – because they are too busy or too lazy, a survey found today.
Researchers found barely half of adults always wash their hands with soap after visiting the toilet.
And shockingly 27 per cent of workers claim to be too rushed at work to wash and dry their hands properly after visiting the toilet.
Additionally, 58 per cent of men regularly skip the morning shower – with one quarter admitting they would rather have the extra time in bed.
Incredibly, one quarter of lazy Brits change their bed sheets just once a month.
Here we have a simple, easy-to-follow story telling the tale that we Brits are dirty, filthy creatures who don’t know the value of soap and have no clue how to keep ourselves clean. There are no prizes for guessing where this one is heading.
Before we get there, a quick note on some of the stats:
- 58 per cent of men regularly skip the morning shower – this stat is meanignless without a definition of what constitutes ‘regularly’, an analysis of how many respondents had access to a shower (rather than just a bath), and how many respondents opted for a late-night shower instead
- with one quarter admitting they would rather have the extra time in bed… one in three said they simply couldn’t be bothered – presented as if to seem like a quarter or third of the 2000 people polled, this is actually one quarter of the 58% above, therefore this stat not only suffers from the issues its parent stat does, but also from the issue of now including a much smaller number of respondents
- One in twenty of the 2,000 adults polled … said the last time they cleaned their toilet was a month ago and 10 per cent said it was two weeks ago – does this reflect the last time their toilet was cleaned, or the last time the respondent cleaned it? It’s beyond plausible that other members of the household could have cleaned the toilet, yet with the incorrect wording of the question we’d see only the last time the particular respondent personally undertook the cleaning.
- one quarter of lazy Brits change their bed sheets just once a month – oddly this contradicts other equally-scientific ‘findings’ in the past, stating that Brits change their bedsheets either once every three weeks (Daily Mail, April 2012, for shopping channel QVC), or just four times a year (Daily Mail, February 2010, for insurers Sheila’s Wheels). It’s almost as if this isn’t science at all, but meaningless paper-filling PR drivel.
Speaking of which, this was a study conducted on behalf of cleaning product manufacturers Dettol by 72Point’s polling arm (and our old friends) OnePoll – we know that because here it is on their site:
Quite remarkably, the Daily Mail version of the story (which was ‘written’ by Deborah Arthurs) takes 90% of its text directly from the OnePoll press release, meaning that the journalist involved contributed only 10% to the article.
Similarly, the article in the Express, attributed to Jane Matthews, was actually 80% copied and pasted from the press release, making the Jane of the Express twice as good as Deborah of the Daily Mail, but still operating at only a fifth of the quality standard expected of a professional journalist. Value for money, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Now, is anybody else left feeling a bit dirty?