Why TV Reporters Should Avoid Using Numbers

From a Thursday story on Survivor: All-Stars by Dennis Cass, who “writes about television for Slate”:

According to a “tribal tidbit” on CBS’s official Survivor site, 10 of the castaways (including all four sole survivors) have been voted out earlier than they were during their first time around. In most games, experience makes you a better player, but with Survivor it seems that the more you play, the worse you get.

Yes. That does prove it. You see, if you start with 18 high finishers and 10 of them finish worse this time around than the time before when they finished high, then they are clearly worse at the game this second time around. If you’re not yet convinced, note that from the parenthetic it’s clear that not one of the four former winners was able to improve upon their prior performance and, stunningly, more than one of them did worse!!

In related news, shrinking deficits are invariably followed by rising tax revenues.